Officials from the Defense Intelligence Agency recently presented potential designs for a Sangamore Road Intelligence Campus that better fit the architectural and landscaping characteristics of the area, according to some at a community meeting with the agency on Thursday afternoon.
The DIA is planning a $300 million, 40-acre campus at 4600 Sangamore Road, the former site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The Geospatial-Intelligence Agency moved out last fall for Virginia, as part of the federally mandated Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program.
In the meantime, a number of residents expressed concern that plans for the expanded new campus (set for 3,000 workers in various intelligence capacities) would cause excessive damage to trees and the forested area around the facility.
Winnebago Road resident Harry Pfohl said the selection of D.C. architecture firm Leo A Daly, known for integrating development with surrounding greenspace, made everybody much more comfortable with the project.
“They presented some real ways to integrate the project with the National Park forestland behind it and to landscape the garage to provide for a more wooded, natural setting,” Pfohl said. “The concepts were unanimously enthusiastically received by the community leaders. That really says something.”
County planners had also requested the DIA pursue a similar path, but as is the case with projects at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, county government has little authority on the development of federal projects.
“County Planning was present at the meeting and County Planning was enthusiastic,” Pfohl said. “The end result should be a really nice place for people to work as well and a really nice fit for the neighborhood.”
Pfohl said he was impressed by the stormwater management plan and potential landscaping features like small ponds. He said the entire community group of seven or eight nearby community leaders walked away happy about the project after months of worrying about lost parkland, lost views of the Potomac River, more traffic and other issues.
“Everyone was grinning,” Pfohl said.
Requests for comment from the Defense Intelligence Agency were not returned as of Tuesday morning.