Spyes to Get New Campus in Bethesda

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor On Feb. 2, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a master plan for a new $300 million federal intelligence community campus in Bethesda. The project will create about 3,000 jobs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will [...]

On Feb. 2, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a master plan for a new $300 million federal intelligence community campus in Bethesda. The project will create about 3,000 jobs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will redevelop the 39-acre site off MacArthur Boulevard and Sangamore Road in Montgomery County, creating Intelligence Community Campus-Bethesda. The Sangamore Road federal facility was formerly home to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA) headquarters.

When the NGIA moved last year to Fort Belvoir, in Virginia, as part of the federally mandated Base Realignment and Closure process, it took its 3,000 workers with it. Multiple intelligence agencies will  replace it, though the new facility will be operated by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Plans include demolishing two of the five buildings in the complex and renovating the remaining three. A series of hallways will then be constructed to connect the three buildings. A parking garage and new landscaping will replace existing surface parking lots. The first phase of the project, which includes  demolition, is expected to cost $40 million.

The facility’s sabotage-secured garage has been the most controversial part of the plan. The Army Corps of Engineers limited the parking garage to 1,825 spaces, instead of the 2,200 initially planned, after community members raised concerns about the mass of the parking structure, its impact on Potomac River views and possible tree cutting.

According to the new master plan, no more than three-quarters of an acre of forest would be lost, although the commission urged the Army to limit deforestation to 0.2 acres. Construction is scheduled to begin in the next few months. The project should be finished by the end of 2013.