Case Study
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)


National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), based in Arlington, VA, is the leading defense industry trade association in the United States. 

With its lease at 2101 Wilson Blvd scheduled to expire towards the end of 2017, NDIA engaged WLS in 2015 to evaluate renewal vs. relocation requirements for its headquarters office. The main goals of its real estate strategy were to leverage the soft real estate market in Northern Virginia, refresh NDIA’s organizational culture through architectural redesign and boost operational efficiency while retaining access to the metro and abundant amenities for employees.




NDIA’s old space was too office-intensive, limiting organic collaboration among the staff and cohesiveness between business units. It lacked the conferencing space to accommodate the high volume of meeting and event demands. With nearly two years remaining on its lease, the challenge was to negotiate an aggressive real estate transaction that would allow NDIA to meet its design goals while reducing its annual occupancy costs and completely covering build out costs of a 22,000-square-foot space with concessions from a building owner.



To bring NDIA into a position of strength at the bargaining table, WLS identify multiple options, outside of Colonial Place, where other landlords agreed to completely cover the build out costs while also taking over NDIA’s existing lease liability. Responding to this competition, Colonial Place offered NDIA a relocation into one of the complexes’ sister buildings to spare NDIA the upheaval of an in-place renovation and began that lease almost a year before the previous one would had expired.


 Not only was WLS a very approachable team, they took the time to understand us as an organization. This built a foundation of trust that reassured us that they were attuned to our interests and objectives throughout the process. We learned we could rely on them to do their job so well, that we could focus on ours. 

Terri Swetnam, Chief Operating Officer, NDIA


"The results speak for themselves: since our move, prospective staff members have been impressed with the collaborative atmosphere fostered by the new layout, colleagues and association members rave about the meeting spaces, and the staff is communicating and interacting in informal ways that have transformed the way we work in such positive ways. I believe we scored 110 percent on this place and I can’t think of anything that we could have done differently."  Terri Swetnam, Chief Operating Officer, NDIA

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