11 May 1960: ANSER on the Move
Securing the first location where Analytic Services Inc. would begin its work was in some ways like the work itself that the Air Force hired the nascent company to do: quick and timely. Less than two weeks before ANSER began operations, in September of 1958, the company secured a lease with American Machine and Foundry, Inc., for 10,000 square feet of office space at 1101 North Royal Street in Alexandria, Virginia. The location was relatively close to the Pentagon—advantageous for the dynamic relationship that ANSER sought to foster with the Air Force.
The location was also temporary. While the North Royal Street building would suffice as a starting place for ANSER—furniture was even included in the lease—the conditions of the building were less than ideal for ANSER’s operations. The leased space was big, but it needed to be bigger. The lease was for a three-month period with the option to renew for up to an additional three months. Meanwhile, ANSER would continue to look for larger permanent quarters in the vicinity of the Pentagon.
In March of the following year, the search was still on. The Board of Trustees had already exercised the optional three months in the original lease, yet had found nothing that was suitable in terms of office space or reasonable in terms of cost or availability for immediate occupancy.
In February of 1959, when it became apparent that finding such office space near the Pentagon would, as the Board noted, “continue to be critical,” a new lease was negotiated with American Machine and Foundry for an additional six months, with options to renew. The new lease provided for modifications to some interior areas, which would more effectively use the available floor space by providing five additional offices. Then the search for suitable permanent quarters went on.
Later that year, the Board found such quarters, also located in Alexandria. Anticipation over both the individual and collective benefits to be gained from the move to 5202 Leesburg Pike was tangible enough to be noted in the Board’s minutes. “It is expected,” the Board noted in April of 1960, “that the move to new quarters will improve our technical operations. The large, quiet, comfortable offices for two analysts each are a marked improvement over the previous quarters.”
Analytic Services Inc. moved into the Leesburg Pike facilities over the weekend of March 12-13, 1960, “with virtually no distraction from professional activities,” the Board noted. The modern, two-story structure provided ANSER with 17,060 square feet of space, with approximately 7,000 additional square feet of office space in the basement.
The basement area soon proved its worth, as scores of Air Force officers—an entire technological working group—moved into the basement offices around 1964. Indeed, so many project teams would be in and out of the Leesburg Pike facilities over the latter half of the 1960s that ANSER would note having a “squeeze on space” in the corporate facility.
With the move to Leesburg Pike, the facilities that ANSER occupied finally matched the company’s needs, right down to the parking spaces (a sufficient number of which, the Board noted, were adjacent to the building). For the first time since the formation of the company, ANSER had suitable space for its professional personnel, technical librarians, and illustrators. “Equally important,” they further noted, “the pressing requirements for conference room facilities and military desk space have now been met.”
Even the commuting time to the Pentagon was better: While the North Royal Street and Leesburg Pike commutes were almost identical in terms of distance (approximately 6 miles), the latter was improved in terms of connecting travel routes.
The net effect of the new location on the ANSER staff was also tangible enough to be recorded in the Board’s minutes: “It is immediately apparent,” they noted, “that the morale of ANSER’s personnel has been enhanced considerably by the Corporation’s relocation.”