Progress Report: General Dynamics’ New Reston HQ

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.

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The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

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