2021 | Development

Future Novavax campus will have visitor center, pedestrian-friendly street

Visitors won’t be able to go directly to buildings

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A pedestrian-friendly street will be adjacent to a green space in the future Novavax campus in Gaithersburg, according to development plans.

Rendering from Gaithersburg planning documents

The new Novavax corporate campus in Gaithersburg will have a visitor center that all guests will first enter when coming to the campus, according to a schematic development plan.

There will also be a pedestrian-friendly “shared street” running through the campus that will sometimes be closed for events.

Details about the visitor center and shared street were part of a presentation on the future campus during a City Council and Planning Commission meeting Monday night.

Novavax plans to occupy 600,000 square feet of space in two buildings that will be built at 14 Firstfield Road, as part of its expansion in Gaithersburg. The campus will include a parking garage, a visitor center and central green space.

The campus is adjacent to the existing building at 700 Quince Orchard Road, where Novavax will also occupy space.

In June, the Gaithersburg City Council approved a sketch plan for the property, which is the first step of the development process. The project is now in the schematic development plan stage, which is the second step.

Nancy Regelin, an attorney representing Novavax affiliate 14 Firstfield Holdings, said during Monday’s meeting that the shared street will be a curbless, single-surace street that will be pedestrian-friendly and will have limited truck use. The street will run between two new buildings.

The shared street, adjacent to the green space, might be closed at times for campus events and corporate functions, such as food trucks coming to the site, Regelin said.

Novavax expects to employ about 1,000 workers on the new campus. One-third will work there full-time, another third will work “hybrid” schedules and will be there part of the time, and the other third will work remotely, Regelin said.

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, Planning Commission member Lloyd Kaufman asked Regelin about the security of the campus.

Regelin said the plan doesn’t call for exterior security to the campus, but the buildings themselves will “secure facilities.” She added that visitors to the campus won’t be able to go directly to one of the buildings.

“They must pass through security and then have arrangements for them to go to a specific building from the visitor center after they park their car,” she said.

The Planning Commission is accepting public comments through Nov. 10, and the City Council is accepting comments through Nov. 24. The council expects to vote on the schematic development plan Nov. 6.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com