As the winter winds down, the spring will bring new life into southern Springfield with the Transportation Security Administration completing their
move into a nine-story, 625,000 square-foot building a few hundred yards from the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.
The TSA relocation is combining five locations around the metro area into this one building, and when complete, this will be a boon to the businesses in this part of Springfield and Kingstowne.
“We’ll be reaching out to the community to meet our food needs,” said Peter M McVey, Director, of the TSA National Capital Region Consolidation and Relocation Project on a conference call sponsored by the Lee-Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. The snowstorm blanketed the area the morning of the call, which was attended by 30 business leaders, elected officials and residents to hear about the latest developments with the new facility.
Currently there are 1,000 employees in the building, but that number will move up to 1,250 in the coming weeks, and top out at 3,100 when it is full. McVey narrated a slide show that showcased the facilities in the building, including security, offices, transportation and logistics for the government employees coming to Springfield. From the Metro station, there is a shuttle for federal employees only, and a walkway for others, as well as a six-level parking garage. The main entrance will be on the second floor where there is a secured entry facility, a coffee area and “Mission Hall,” a museum-like place that tells the story of the TSA. There are some appliances that have not been delivered, and McVey said “we are still feeling the impacts of covid with appliance delivery,” so for now, some rely on the vending machines.
Transportation is being pieced together, and right now, the building can only be accessed by a single road from Loisdale Road. Supervisor Rodney Lusk (D-Lee) noted the importance of the Frontier Drive extension, which is a Virginia Department of Transportation project to extend Frontier Drive through the Metro station, by the TSA building, and eventually linking to Loisdale Road. “The Frontier Drive extension is the main improvement but it’s not funded,” he said, adding that officials on various levels are working on that.
Frontier Drive Project
According to VDOT, the $140 million Frontier Drive project is currently in the preliminary design stage. VDOT describes the project as a four-lane divided roadway, which includes a combination of new construction and improvements to Springfield Center Drive and a new bridge over Long Branch, with on-road bicycle facilities, as well as a shared-use path on one side and a sidewalk on the other side. Braided ramps at the Frontier Drive and Franconia-Springfield Parkway interchange to improve access and eliminate weaving movements.
The project includes improvements to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station circulatory road and access to the Metro station parking structures, including three new bus bays and a direct connection from the transit center to eastbound Franconia-Springfield Parkway.
“I believe we’ll be able to find money to get this done,” Lusk said, noting that the Frontier Drive project is third in a row of road projects that are up for funding.
James Glenn, a nearby resident on the conference call, suggested a monorail from the station right into the TSA building as one improvement that could bring Metro riders to the office easily.
In the same area, Inova Health System plans to expand on recently acquired property adjacent to the current Inova HealthPlex – Franconia/Springfield.
Inova medical facilities is looking to build a hospital at Beulah Street and the Springfield-Franconia Parkway intersection, and Lusk looked at that project as another plus for this immediate area as a training and employment venue for residents.
In addition, Lusk is enthusiastic about renewing the effort to bring the FBI Headquarters to a parcel of land that is currently occupied by the General Services Administration. He’s working on this with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).
“We think the new administration is going to be open to this,” Lusk said.
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