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When Northrop Grumman announced last week that it had chosen Virginia for its gigantic new headquarters, Governor Bob McDonnell preened just a little bit.

“The biggest thing they get is a great place to do business, and honestly, at the end of the day, that’s really what they cared about,” McDonnell said on WTOP. “They wanted a great place for their executives to live, good quality of life, good amenities, good real estate values and, hopefully, a business friendly government.”

Well, Northrop CEO Wes Bush put the lie to that assertion. From an interview today with the Post‘s Dana Hedgpeth (emphases mine):

So you’ve narrowed your search to Northern Virginia. Why there?

It really came down to three factors: We had a certain size we were looking for. We had a date by which we wanted to be here — that’s summer 2011. And third, economics. How were the incentives as well as the economics of the individual sites? Different buildings cost different amounts to acquire, fit up, or get into a configuration we need. It all became an integrated equation.

Who stacked up the best?

Virginia stacked up very well. We are down to a small number of sites in the Falls Church and Arlington area. Those sites have the proximity we were looking for; all are within the Beltway. They meet our economic objectives as well as our economic incentive structure from the state and local governments.

Looks like Bush—who seems to have the personality to match his love of the dismal science—won’t be paying much attention to the smart growthers either.