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by Karen Goff September 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm 4 Comments

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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

by Karen Goff September 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm 8 Comments

Location of proposed General Dynamics campus/Source: Fairfax County

General Dynamics’ plans to build a five-story office building on a wooded lot on Sunset Hills Road will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The plan has generally been well received by community members, as well as the Fairfax County Planning staff, which recommends the plan with a few conditions.

The 21.69-acre site between Wiehle Avenue and Hunter Mill Road is a heavily treed, previously undeveloped lot. But it has been approved for years for a developer to build three, five-story buildings or about 358,000 square feet. Also approved: three levels of below grade structured parking designed for 297 spaces and the option for surface parking spaces on the south side of the building.

What General Dynamics has proposed is one, five story building at about 190,000 square feet, with an option for a 30,000-square-foot addition in the future.

GD also plans a reduction in parking from 572 spaces to 347 spaces.

GD, which currently leases office space in Fairview Park, previously said it was drawn to the site because it could build to its specifications, including a security fence and an “arrival pavilion” that would provide security checks on the property’s access road.

The company also plans to preserve most of the trees. GD has asked to build a 10-foot security fence along the perimeter, which has previously been approved for a 4-foot fence.

What concerned community members at a previous meeting was potential traffic backups on Sunset Hills Road as the proposed building is not in walking distance of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro.

The county staff report recommends widening Sunset Hills Road to four lanes. Nearly two acres has been dedicated for such road widening as part of the previous approvals. The report says Sunset Hills’ eastbound improvements include the addition of a 150-foot left turn lane with a 100-foot taper into Dressage Drive and a 250-foot right turn lane with a 100-foot taper into the site. (more…)

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. (more…)

by Karen Goff January 21, 2016 at 10:30 am 13 Comments

Future site of General Dynamics on Sunset Hills RoadDefense contractor General Dynamics envisions one five-story building nestled into a wooded area off Sunset Hills Road in Reston for its new headquarters. It’s a complex with a small footprint, an unobtrusive security fence and on-site amenities for about 200 employees.

However, it is not the plans themselves that worry nearby residents and workers — it’s the added stress to Sunset Hills Road, which is two lanes in most spots and is already often a traffic jam during rush hour.

“I think it is a spectacular site plan,” said one citizen at a community meeting with General Dynamics representatives at South Lakes High School on Wednesday. “But Sunset Hills Road 45 years ago is exactly the same way it is today. Every other road has been brought into the 21st Century. This is the perfect time to bring [Sunset Hills] into the 21st Century.”

General Dynamics announced last week it intends to build a 190,000-square-foot headquarters on a 22-acre lot currently owned by Boston Properties. The project would have 300 parking spaces, most of them in a below-ground garage.

The site is at 11011 Sunset Hills, between Wiehle Avenue and Hunter Mill Road and bordered on one edge by the W&OD Trail. (more…)

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