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Northrop's last day headquartered in the Southland

August 19, 2011 |  9:05 am

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After more than seven decades of being headquartered in the Southland, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. is leaving Century City for the Washington D.C.-area Friday to be closer to its biggest customer, the U.S. government.

Starting next week, the company famous for building the B-2 stealth bomber will be based in Falls Church, Va.

“This is an important move for the company, and it's one that we believe will improve the effectiveness in serving the nation and our customers," said Northrop Chief Executive Wesley G. Bush in announcing the decision to move the company back in January 2010. "The proximity to Washington enables us to be a more integrated part of the federal process."

Check out our story on Northrop and its history in the Southland; here’s a taste:

Although the company is shifting about 300 employees from its corporate offices in Century City to Falls Church, a quarter of Northrop's worldwide workforce will remain in California.

With sprawling complexes in Redondo Beach, El Segundo and Palmdale, Northrop maintains that Southern California will continue to play a vital role in U.S. aerospace. By moving its top executives closer to Capitol Hill, Northrop hopes to grow its business and forge closer relationships with government and military officials.

"Northrop feels they can do a better job for L.A. County if they're based near Washington than if they were based here," said Nancy Sidhu, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "They might be right."

Maybe so, but it doesn't feel right, said Gerald Blackburn, president of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization of former aerospace employees who work to preserve Southern California's aerospace history.

"It's the end of an era in a lot of ways," he said.

There are also great historic photos in a gallery here and a timeline here.

RELATED:

Wesley Bush is steering Northrop Grumman in a new direction

Northrop Grumman moving headquarters from L.A. to Washington, D.C., area

Boeing earnings rise, Northrop's fall in second quarter

-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: A B-2 stealth bomber comes in for a landing. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corp.

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