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Progress Report: General Dynamics’ New Reston HQ

by Karen Goff — August 16, 2016 at 10:00 am 8 Comments

NEW GD HQ

Defense contractor General Dynamics, which plans to construct a new headquarters in Reston, has a Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing scheduled for Sept. 14.

The company announced in January it hopes to build a 190,000-square-foot building on a parcel off Sunset Hills Road between Wiehle Avenue and Hunter Mill Road and bordered on one edge by the W&OD Trail.

The plan itself was generally well received at a community meeting in January. What GD plans to build is actually well below what was long-ago approved for the parcel. GD plans one five-story building for about 200 employees.

The site was approved by Fairfax County in 1999 for nearly 358,000 square feet of space spread over three buildings, as well as nearly 1,200 parking spaces.

The current footprint is much smaller, but does allow for a 30,000-square-foot-addition to the building in the future. GD plans 300 mostly underground parking spaces to go with the first phase of the plan.

Because of the secure nature of GD’s operations, the company plans an interior road, no public access, a guard gate and security fencing. It also plans to keep most of the forested area for a natural privacy shield and sound barrier.

A staff report detailing more plans and results of a traffic study should be available Sept. 1.

That plan may detail what GD plans to do, if anything, for traffic management on Sunset Hills.

The potential traffic problems were a citizen concern at January’s meeting.

A General Dynamics representative said then the company is not obligated to make traffic improvements, but may eventually give money to the Virginia Department of Transportation for road widening. The property rights include a 1 1/2 acre stretch along Sunset Hills that can be used for an additional lane.

In addition to the traffic impact studies, GD has surveyed employees to see how many would plan on taking Metro to Wiehle-Reston East (nearby, but not necessarily walking distance) and boarding a shuttle.

Residents who live in the Equestrian Park neighborhood, also off of that area of Sunset Hills, say traffic is already bad.

“Sunset Hills Road 45 years ago is exactly the same way it is today,” one resident said at the January meeting. “Every other road has been brought into the 21st Century. This is the perfect time to bring [Sunset Hills] into the 21st Century.”

GD reps say the approval process should take until the end of 2016. Construction would take place in 2017 and 2018. General Dynamics’ Fairview Park lease ends at the end of 2018, at which point it would move into the new building.

  • Greg

    Why build new when there are hundreds of empty buildings all over NoVA?

    • MJay

      My guess is that it might be more cost effective to simply build a new facility rather than completely gut an existing building in order to retrofit it enough to meet the security requirements necessary to handle classified/sensitive information, as well as other security concerns.

  • RunDMC

    So, I’m happy they’re keeping a bunch of trees… but the traffic! Oh my god the traffic! That stretch of road cannot afford to get any worse, and yet it WILL.

  • Mike M

    “A General Dynamics representative said . . . the company is not obligated to make traffic improvements, but may eventually give money to the Virginia Department of Transportation for road widening.”

    Gee, a responsible approach to entering a community. One of our more familiar developers may have offered the Board of Supes $13K for a diversity garden and been done with it. Thanks General Dynamics for paying your way!

    Keeping trees? Thanks again. We need more such neighbors.

  • Niels

    Hopefully there will finally an extension of sidewalks to the metro that is publicly accessible along sunset hills road. Walking from Equestrian Park or the houses past it on Sunset Hills Road to Metro is quite dangerous at this point due to missing sections of sidewalk.

  • Holly H. Towne

    Assuming that the plans are approved, I suspect that General Dynamics will consider the needs of those who wish to ride bikes or walk to work and find a way to make use of the W&OD Trail by including sidewalks in their planning. Equestrian Park Subdivision residents would very likely welcome the addition of sidewalks that run from the Metro Station to the front gate.
    I do hope that their security wall will be unobtrusive and fit well with the natural beauty along Sunset Hills Road.

  • nicknow

    Not sure what this building is for but it isn’t going to be GD’s headquarters…it only is going to support 200 employees, that isn’t enough to staff the basic HQ functions for a 99k employee publicly traded company with tens of billions in revenue. This sounds, to me, like an office that GD is building for a secretive government agency that doesn’t want to disclose they are building an office.

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