Public Safety Headquarters (GE Tech Park)
- Traffic Impact Study (Draft), May 2008 (PDF | 4 MB)
- Privately- owned site on route 28 in Gaithersburg.
- Contains 340,000 square feet of office/warehouse space.
- The county has been searching for a site that it could use to relocate some of the County’s aging facilities and because of the GE Tech Park site has many attributes that the County is seeking it is considered a good investment for the County’s long term future.
- The County plans to relocate the Police Headquarters, Police District 1 Station, Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Homeland Security offices and perhaps other Offices to the GE site.
- There is significant interaction between the Police Department, the Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the Department of Homeland Security.
- These public safety agencies would better from co-locating their administrative functions to facilitate their ongoing interaction and collaboration and enable the sharing of resources and support services and eliminate some regular travel between the agencies.
- The property is I-3 zoning which permits the County to uses including office, warehousing and manufacturing.
- An additional 700,000 square feet of I-3 development and uses are permitted on the site “by right” under the Annexation agreement. However, the County does not plan to construct additional buildings on the site.
- The tenant, GXS, is willing to vacate the building and the size of this building allows the County to immediately consolidate in one location certain uses that are currently dispersed throughout the County.
- The GE Tech Park is surrounded by natural and man made buffers that separate the areas of the site where new development is likely to occur from existing adjacent residential development and the County is considering enhancing these buffers.
- GE Tech Park -- Kentlands Express 10-24-2008 ( See Flyer | 114 KB)
Commonly Asked Questions
- Is it true that the County has no plans to place the PSTA, the MCPS foods warehouse, and the firing range on the GE/ Finmarc properties?
Yes, the GE building will be used for administrative purposes and the Peapod warehouse will be used for the Department of Liquor Control.
- Can you put deed restrictions on the property to ensure that there will be no other uses?
No, we cannot bind the future government in this manner.
- Will Homeland Security be located on this site?
Yes. Also, the departments of Police and Fire and Rescue Services and the 1st District Police station.
- Will there be a food warehouse or a heliport?
Not at this site.
- Will you control the employee traffic through the residential streets?
We want 100 percent of the traffic to enter from route 28.
- How many employees will occupy the building?
- Will there be a jail in the building?
No, the building will be use for administrative purposes only.
- Will there be any new construction on the site?
No, there will be only repairs to the exterior of the buildings and renovations inside and we will look at moving the loading docks on the warehouse building.
- Will you reduce the parking lot to create a larger buffer between the property and the residential?
We can look into that. Will also relocate the warehouse loading bays if necessary.
- How many trips are expected based upon full building occupancy? How does that compare to the current occupancy?
The total trips anticipated for the fully occupied office building are 460 during the AM Peak hour and 416 during the PM Peak hour. These trips are already considered as background trips in the capacity analysis of the existing roads and intersections in the vicinity of the property. The County’s use of the building for administrative offices will not cause any additional trips in the background count. Currently the building is only 30% occupied, so the County’s use will result in greater trips than the current occupancy, but no more than is contemplated for full occupancy of the building.
- Where will the 900 employees park?
There is adequate parking in place and there are Ride On bus routes on Route 28.
- Can the lakefront property be deeded to the city?
The County plans to preserve and improve that portion of the parcel by adding benches to make it usable for residents.
- Will you put a cafeteria in the GE building?
That has yet to be decided.
- What is the impact to city tax revenues? Will the county reimburse the city?
That has not been determined, but the County has plans to discuss this with the city.
- How will you deal with the many traffic challenges in our neighborhood?
The Upcounty Regional Services Center (URSC) staff will work with the city regarding the installation of stop signs.
- Will this affect the construction of the aquatic center?
This will have no effect on the construction.
- How many employees work in the building now?
We don’t know, perhaps 200.
- Where is the County in process at this time and what is the County timeline?
The County is negotiating a contract with property owners, which is expected to be completed later this year. The GE building should be vacated by September of 2009.
- Will the project cover up the view of the lake?
No, the lake will be preserved.
- What has beenthe City of Gaithersburg’s reaction to the general proposal for a substantial public safety presence at the GE Tech Park site?
The City of Gaithersburg has not opposed our proposed uses. Some officials voiced support, other cautious support and others were non-committal.
- The study proposes moving Police Headquarters to the GE Tech Park. Has a Program of Requirements been developed for Police Headquarters? If so, please provide a summary of the functions that will be included, the proposed square footage, and how it compares to the square footage currently allocated at Research Boulevard.
The Police functions that are anticipated to be included are: Office of the Chief, Community Services, Educational Facilities Offices, Volunteer Resources, Legal and Labor Relations, Media Services, Policy and Planning, management of Bureaus, Special/Tactical Ops, Criminal Investigation, Pawn, Fraud Computer Crime, Forensics, Crime Lab, Major Crimes, Records, Crime Analysis, Management and Budget, FARU, Automated Traffic Enforcement/ Photo Speed Enforcement, Central Property, Personnel, Backgrounds, and Technology. The total usable area of these spaces is 55,418 square feet. The current Police Headquarters building is approximately 40,000 square feet. Some of the police functions to be located in the GE Tech Park Building are being consolidated from leased spaces.
- Adequate space for the Crime Lab has been a problem for the past few years and impacts the justice system as a whole. Please describe the plans for the Crime Lab and how the plan will address the need for additional space or technology changes for the Crime Lab and how the plan will address the need for additional space or technology changes that are likely to occur over the next 10 or 15 years.
The Crime Lab requirement is being re-examined to include provisions for future expansion. The current space is 3,890 usable square feet and the draft POR calls for approximately 12,350 usable square feet.
- The study proposes moving the District 1 Station from its current location on Seven Locks Road to the GE Tech Park. Chief Manger told the Committee that the move will not only provide upgraded facility but will allow Headquarters to become a 24-hour facility. However, the GE Tech Park is just barely in District 1 and would be quite distance from many residences and businesses in the District. What are the service impacts from this relocation? Should consideration be given to establishing a centrally located satellite or sub station? Has the City of Rockville been asked for their reaction to the relocation of the District 1 station? If so, what were there comments?
The District 1 Station will be located on the extreme edge of the district that it serves. This will have no impact on the officers’ effectiveness or the speed of responses because to a large degree, calls are dispatched to officers in their roving vehicles, not from the station. It will be less convenient for residents on the other side of the district to get to the station and in the future we may consider a substation more centrally located. Preliminary conversations have been held with the City of Rockville. Additionally, of course the City of Rockville's police services supplement those of the County and the impacts of the proposed 1st District should not be significant.
- What is the County proposing for this site?
The County proposes to use the existing office building as a public safety administration
headquarters for the Montgomery County Police Department,the administrative staff of the
Department of Fire and Rescue Services,Homeland security staff, the first District police Station
and other county personnel that interact on public safety matters. The office building will be
used only for office uses.
The County intends to use the existing warehouse for the Department of Liquor Control for
storage and administrative offices.
- Are there plans for expansion of the office building or the warehouse?
There are no plans to expand the existing buildings; nor are there plans to build any other
buildings. A lot of rumors have been circulating regarding other uses at the GE site. The County
is not putting highway maintenance uses, day labor or the Public Safety Training Academy at
- What about traffic at the GE Tech Park site?
The office building has been in existence for many years, and while it is only partially used right
now, all of the traffic anticipated to be generated by full usage of the building is contemplated
and reflected in the existing roadway system. This is also true for the warehouse. Our use of the
warehouse will actually reduce the overall trips currently generated at the warehouse by
approximately 40%. The County's traffic study found that truck volumes based on our use will
be less than half the existing truck volume. Nighttime truck traffic will be eliminated and there
will be no weekend truck traffic to or from the site. Additionally, all trucks will be directed onto
Maryland Route 28 and will be directed not to use neighborhood streets.
Further, the County's traffic study concluded that ifthe site is developed with additional
warehouse or flex space as permitted under the Annexation Agreement, there would be a greater
impact on the level of service for the area roads than the uses proposed by the County.
- What could go on the GE Tech Park site under private ownership?
Under the existing Annexation Agreement, the entire site could be developed with up to an
additional 700,000 sq. ft. of office or other building space. The developer has proposed an
additional 202,175 sq. ft. of warehouse/office buildings with surface parking which would
include two buildings in front of Lake Placid on Maryland Route 28. Recently, the Circuit
Court for Montgomery County ruled that the City could not deny the developer the right to
build in front of Lake Placid.
There is also a residential overlay on the site if the GE building and warehouse sites are
developed together; however, they are under separate ownership and thus proceeding on a
- Are there plans for expansion of the County's proposed uses on the site?
There are no plans to build any other buildings on the site.
- What will the community get out of our plan?
The County is working with the City of Gaithersburg to approach the overall site holistically.
The county has already publicly stated that the area in front of Lake Placid will be preserved as
open space with a public safety memorial. This area will be treated as a park for the public to
use and enjoy.
The County believes that additional landscaping is advisable between the existing warehouse and
the adjoining neighborhood. Therefore, we would place additional landscaping behind the
warehouse to improve existing site conditions. Additionally, the County will look at the loading
docks and the placement of the loading docks to determine if the loading docks closest to the
houses can be decommissioned from loading dock usage. As mentioned earlier, there will be a
significant reduction in the number of trucks that will be accessing the site and an elimination of
nighttime and weekend truck traffic.
The office building will be used for administrative offices for the police, fire safety and
homeland security. These are public servants who are traditionally an important part of the
county's overall community and will be good neighbors to the surrounding communities.
The County appreciates the importance of open space and the trees that are part of the current
site conditions. It is not looking to maximize density for financial return and is instead looking
to preserve the beauty and campus-like quality of the existing site.
- What will the County's use mean for area businesses?
The County had a market analysis done. The County's consultant concluded that use of the
property as a public safety campus will result, on an annual basis, in an additional approximately
$5 million of business for area restaurants, dry cleaners, shops, etc.
- If the County ever were to build anything on the site, what process would it have to follow?
The County has no current plans to build any structure on the site. For the public safety
memorial and any exterior construction that might be undertaken in the future, the County has
committed to the City of Gaithersburgthat it will voluntarily go through a "mandatory referral"
type review with the City's Planning Commission,just as it does for projects within the county.