2021 | Development

Gaithersburg approves initial site plan for Novavax campus

Firstfield Road site will have two buildings, green space, visitor center

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The Gaithersburg City Council on Monday unanimously approved a schematic development plan, or initial site plan, for the future Novavax corporate campus at 14 Firstfield Road.

The campus includes more than 600,000 square feet of office, lab, manufacturing, and research and development space in two buildings, according to the plan. It also calls for a visitor center, central green space and parking garage.

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

Sam Copelan, a planner with the city, told the council Monday night that the plan also calls for a pedestrian bridge connecting the two buildings on campus.

Copelan said about one-third of Novavax’s employees will work on campus full-time, another third will be remote and the rest will have a “hybrid” schedule of remote and in person.

Gaithersburg leaders have been bullish on the expansion of Novavax’s presence in the city, as the company works to develop its own COVID-19 vaccine, joining the three existing ones.

Novavax has filed for emergency authorization use of the vaccine in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and expects to do so in the United States next year, a company officer told NPR last week.

Mayor Jud Ashman called the expansion of Novavax’s presence “a win for the city of Gaithersburg” on Monday. The city’s newest two council members elected last month, Lisa Henderson and Jim McNulty, were also excited.

“Leading up to our election to the council, we talked a lot about Gaithersburg’s world-class biotech corridor, and this will be a crown jewel of that corridor,” McNulty said.

Henderson said she was impressed with the beauty of the campus as outlined in the plan, and is pleased that it’s within walking distance of a nearby shopping center.

“All the hard work that was done, Jim and I get to celebrate and bask in the beauty of this,” she said.

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