Supervisors Approve General Dynamics’ Secure ‘Jewel Box in the Woods’

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved General Dynamics’ plan to build a new headquarters in Reston.

The defense contractor, which currently leases space in Fairview Park, looked at many spots around the country but found that the Reston site  — 22 wooded acres on Sunset Hills Road — “fit that [description] to a T,” said land use attorney Mark Looney, representing General Dynamics.

“They were looking for a facility they could own and occupy,” Looney said at the supervisors public hearing. “They wanted room for 175-200 employees that was private and natural. They don’t want to be seen and don’t want to see other people. The CEO said they were looking for a ‘jewel box in the woods.’ ”

General Dynamics plans to keep 84 percent of the space as natural and wooded, adding extra privacy for the site at 11011 Sunset Hills, between Wiehle Avenue and Hunter Mill Road.

The site has long been designated commercial, and General Dynamics’ plan is actually much smaller than the previous zoning approvals for three buildings and nearly 400,000 square feet, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said.

“This has been a good-news development,” said Hudgins. “The Sunset Hills Road planned development of the site was planned for much higher intensity. This really is an improvement over what zoning would have allowed.”

General Dynamics plans include three levels of below-ground parking and some surface parking for 347 cars, as well as a pocket park.

The company plans a 10-foot security fence and an access road through the property so traffic will not back up on Sunset Hills as employees and visitors go through a security check gate.

As part of the proffer conditions, General Dynamics will have to make some improvements to Sunset Hills, including widening it for turning lanes and providing money for additional traffic signals.

General Dynamics plans to move into the new facility in late 2018, said Looney.

Graphic: Rendering of plans for General Dynamics’ Reston headquarters/Credit: Fairfax County

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