Mission Possible: Giant spy building may become a reality
Last Wednesday, The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted to allow, or sort of allow, a development boundary to be removed for the proposed expansion of the National Ground Intelligence Center just past the airport on 29 N. The boundry moving idea now goes to the Planning Commission, which will hold a public hearing and toss it back to the board. If all goes according to plan, the NGIC will move into a new 30 acre, 219,000-square-foot- facility with more than 1000 employees.
Supervisor Sally H. Thomas was the one vote against the boundary move. “I think we’ve all been threatened and caught in a situation not of our making,” she told the Daily Progress. “I think we’re being held up by a landowner ”Š [and] I do not think this is good planning or land-use practice.” That landowner is Wendell Wood, who told the Board that unless they fixed the boundary issue right away the lucrative government contract would go to another state. Wood is selling the 47.5 acre tract of land to the federal government for $7 million, which he says is below the assessed value, but was all the government was offering.
As you may recall, the Hook reported on the proposed NGIC expansion last May, which at the time was “all speculation" according to NGIC spokesman Captain Tim O'Neil. You may also recall that the NGIC, which used to be housed in the “spy building” downtown and moved to its new facility on 29N in 2001, was accused by the Robb-Silberman Commission of being “totally wrong” when they said Iraq could have used those aluminum tubes to make nuclear weapons, even though it was supposed to be the NGIC’s area of expertise. In another scandal, the NGIC was the subject of a 2002 FBI investigation for “gross mismanagement by bullying employees in violation of federal work rules.”