Intelligence Community Campus – Bethesda

At its February meeting, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a master plan to redevelop the former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters at 4600 Sangamore Road in Bethesda, Maryland into the Intelligence Community Campus – Bethesda.

The master plan provides a vision and framework to transform the facility into a secure campus supporting U.S. intelligence community activities, and calls for a maximum employee population of 3,000 at the site.

While the master plan retains most of the existing buildings, new additions and façade treatments are proposed, along with a new 1,800 vehicle space parking garage, installation gate, and visitor control center. In addition, extensive new landscaping will replace existing impervious surface parking.

The Commission initially reviewed the proposed master plan in December 2011. Following public testimony, the Commission deferred action and asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to further evaluate alternatives to the parking garage size, location, and capacity.

During the following months, NCPC staff worked with the community, the Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and local government agencies to study alternative configurations and site layouts for the parking garage.

Through these discussions, the Corps and the DIA committed to a reduction in on-site parking spaces from 2,240 to 1,825. They also identified a configuration and site design for a smaller garage that will limit its overall impact on adjacent forested areas, including National Park Service property.

The DIA also provided the community with a letter of commitments outlining additional design modifications and actions that address neighborhood concerns, including participating in a joint traffic committee with community representatives and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.

In its February 2 approval, the Commission commended the Corps for reusing and modernizing an existing federally-owned facility in a manner that acknowledges its historic significance and substantially improves the environmental sustainability of the site.

In conjunction with its approval, the Commission also requested the Corps to look further at reducing the installation’s stormwater runoff and impact on adjacent forested areas. In response to the Commission’s request, the Corps intends to continue its close coordination with NCPC staff, the community, and other stakeholders to determine whether the proposal can be modified to achieve the targets set by the Commission.

The Commission anticipates seeing preliminary plans for the garage, visitor control center, and installation gate in the spring 2012. Plans for the office building redevelopment will be submitted at a later date. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 and last for approximately four years.