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General Dynamics Eyes Sunset Hills Site for HQ in Reston

by Karen Goff January 12, 2016 at 11:30 am 27 Comments

Future site of General Dynamics on Sunset Hills Road

General Dynamics Corporation is planning to build a large office building on Sunset Hills Road near Hunter Mill Road.

The aerospace and defense company has filed plans with Fairfax County for development on the 21.7-acre parcel at 11011 Sunset Hills Rd., which is currently a vacant lot between Hunter Mill Road and Wiehle Avenue.

The lot has previously been approved by the county for three buildings totaling 357,694 square feet. General Dynamics’ plans for Phase I of the project are for one 190,000-square-foot building with underground parking.

The headquarters would have about 200 employees, county officials said. General Dynamics currently leases several floors of a building in Falls Church. That lease will expire in 2019, the firm says.

While the development is planned for the commercial/industrial lot, it is located across from Dressage Lane, the entrance to a residential development. The county has sent letters to residents informing them of General Dynamics plans.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has also scheduled a community meeting for next week to discuss with residents the impact the office building will have on traffic and other community concerns.

“While this development will go through the standard Reston Planning and Zoning Committee review process, I wanted to also give the community an early opportunity to talk about the development and address any concerns,” said Hudgins. “The owner and developer involved will be present and available for questions. My hope is that by engaging the community at the onset everyone can be fully informed as the review process proceeds.”

The meeting is at 7 p.m on Jan. 20 at South Lakes High School.

Photo: Future site of General Dynamics on Sunset Hills Road

  • Mike M

    Do the people numbers and the space number square? Seems like more space than needed for 200 people. I guess there are longer range plans that would even it all out.

    Something would have to be done with the intersection complex of 267-Hunter Mill – Sunset Hills. Or, conversely it could become another giant, whack-a-doodle mess and we could call it Hudgins’s Krazy Korner. I wonder if Mr. Thoburn’s land would be affected?

    • Karen Goff

      It’s quite a but up from Hunter Mill — not near Thoburn’s land. It is across from Business Center Drive/Dressage on Sunset Hills.

      • Mike M

        Right but people will want to come and go, mostly in cars and there are two ways to get there: 1) Hunter Mill, 2) the Wiehle- Sunset Hills intersection.

    • Ming the Merciless

      If you’re heading on Sunset Hills towards Hunter Mill, you are heading towards the future (2017) location of the Oakcrest School. So it’ll be a breeze to get on the Toll Road from that direction.

      • Mike M

        I think it’s less than a breeze today at rush hour at either end of the road. I speak from experience. Develop that littered forest and it will be a real choke point at rush hour if they can get full occupancy. The other end at Wiehle is a mess as well, especially since they plopped a Metro station down with little local infrastructure adjustment. I spoke to the owner of a new building on the other side of the Toll Road. He said the intersection, and toll hikes materially harmed him. He didn’t mention the systemic suppression of demand for office space such as teleworking. But this new development looks like it has some tenants already with probably more to follow.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Was Ming’s sarcasm really so subtle?

          • Mike M

            Ming b slick

    • WW

      Pretty sure since it’s their planned HQ they’re planning for visitors. The Hunter Mill/Sunset Hills intersection is also bound to improve. It’s always had a temporary feel about it anyway.

      • Mike M

        Well, look who just rolled in from Happy Town! The Wiehle-Sunset Hills-W&OD-Metro Station intersection-nexus sorta has that temporary feel to it too. It’s no less lethal, mind you. But, say hello next time we sit through the same light twice together.
        By the way, that Hunter Mill Sunset Hills-DTR intersection has a history behind it. There have been attempts to improve it and they failed for some interesting reasons.

  • Ming the Merciless

    The traffic on Sunset Hills heading to turn left on Wiehle to get to the Toll Road is already horrendous on weekday evenings.

    This should make the traffic even more awesome!

    • Mike M

      Some sidewalks would be nice. The sidewalk on the south side of Sunset is one of those famous FFX sidewalks to nowhere. It just ends after the building where State Farm has their sign on the W&OD. I don’t believe there is a sidewalk on the north side. But there is the W&OD which is less direct.

    • WW

      Pretty sure they’ll have a shuttle to the metro. I do agree with other commenters though – sidewalks around the station definitely need improvement. Especially outside daylight hours walking to and from the station is quite dangerous.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    A word to the wise. Stay away from SRV and SH during both morning and afternoon rush. That whole strip is about to become a nightmare.

  • Bruce Wright

    I wouldn’t exactly call this land “vacant” 🙂 There’s lots of trees and critters there now.

    Probably the best way to access the new development will be via the W&OD Trail. That’s also the best way for most bicyclists to access the Wiehle station rather than contending with road traffic and pedestrians on the sidewalks.

    • Mike M

      So, most of the people in those buildings will ride their bikes to work? And home? To and from, say Burke? Or Prince William County? Or Rockville? So, the biker dudes are all about congestion on the roads because it inconveniences everyone else and makes them feel smart? Do I have that right?

      • Bruce Wright

        If you think most of the people will ride their bikes to work that’s great. That’s not what I said but I’d love to see that happen. But they don’t have to ride all the way to work; they can ride to Metro, then ride from Metro, or ride to the bus, put their bike on the bus and then ride to work. Better yet, they can live in the Blvd and walk or bike to work. There are lots of options, lots of ways to get to work other than driving. Can’t really understand why some people automatically react so negatively to the concept of using your own power to take trips by bike. Jealous I guess.

        • Chuck Morningwood

          Actually, Bruce, unless you are riding your bicycle out of “rush hour”, you won’t be able to put your bike on the train. When I commuted downtown, I had two bikes. One on the Reston side of the commute and one on the DC side of the commute, which was locked each night at the bike stand near the Metro station.

          • Bruce Wright

            Good point Chuck. An example was yesterday when I rode my bike to the Wiehle station, parked in the bike room, rode Metro to Alexandria where I then checked out a Capital Bikeshare bike and rode to the waterfront. There is one exception to bringing a bike on Metro during rush hour; folding bikes are allowed any time. I do have a folding bike but it’s easier for me to take a CaBi bike and be able to park it and not worry it when I reach my destination. Soon people commuting to Reston will have the option of using CaBi bikes to get to the Town Center and a few other places.

        • Mike M

          Because reality is nothing like your fantasy that people would all take Metro, ride their bike, or live nearby. That is fantasy. The simple reality is that most of the people will drive from place where Metro does not support their commute. The happy story is that cars are really wonderful in the flexibility we bring. We just need to accept that happy fact and adjust our infrastructure to our development approvals. You should look beyond your own experiential orb.

          • Bruce Wright

            I agree with your fantasy, which only you seem to want to promote. Most people will drive and that’s fine with me. The reality is if enough people walk, bike, take metro, take the bus, then those drivers will have less congested roads. The best “adjustment to our infrastructure” is to foster those other options.

      • Ming the Merciless

        The property will probably have a fence around it that won’t have an opening onto the W&OD trail, which will leave a lot of frustrated bicyclists on the other side of it shaking their fists and wishing they lived in the Netherlands…

  • June Smith

    With all the vacant commercail property – why are we builidng?

    • WW

      They have particular security requirements that cannot be filled by an off-the-shelf commercial development. Plans are for a perimeter fence and a guard house.

      • June Smith

        Nonsense – there are two high security office buildings in Reston that upgraded exsiting office buildins to meet their needs. One is so secure, there are armed guards at the entrance.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Exactly. It is not that hard to build a fence. GD has offices in the high rise at the bottom of Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, and they didn’t build that building from scratch.

        • WW

          That’s right – the tenants themselves upgraded the buildings. That would require General Dynamics to identify a building that is fairly isolated, then embark on an effective tare-down and rebuild. I saw what Lougheed did with their building. They might as well have rebuilt the thing, which appears to be what GD has decided to do.

          • June Smith

            Nonsense – GD is in the heart of Reston and Oakton now … we don’t need to add to the vacant commercial space just because a major government wants a shiny new building

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