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AURORA, CO-Ground will be broken July 1 for an 80,000-sf addition for defense contractor Northrop Grumman’s expansion. The ceremony presided by Mayor Ed Tauer will include a Native American “ground blessing.”

The addition is the equivalent of a build-to-suit for the Northrop campus. The addition is scheduled to open in the fall of 2005. In addition to the expansion, the company also recently renewed its 108,240-sf lease.

When combined with the expansion, the 188,240-sf deal apparently is the largest office lease so far this year, says Alan Seiver, who handled the transaction with fellow Grubb & Ellis broker Mark Schuster. Northrop’s landlord in Aurora is Wells Real Estate Funds. Northrop, which employs 870 people in Aurora, currently leases 265,000 sf in three buildings, but expects to employ 1,000 by year-end.

The Northrop division in involved with national intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Julie Bender, president of the DIA Partnership, notes many of the new jobs in the metro area, especially along the north and northeast submarkets, are in the defense industry.

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