Gaithersburg City Council unanimously approved a schematic development plan, or initial site plan, for the future Novavax corporate campus at 14 Firstfield Road on Monday.
The campus includes more than 600,000 square feet of office, laboratory, manufacturing, and research and development space in two buildings, according to the plan. It also provides a reception center, a central green space and a car park.
The campus is adjacent to the existing building at 700 Quince Orchard Road, where Novavax will also occupy space.
Sam Copelan, a city planner, told council Monday evening that the plan also includes a pedestrian bridge connecting the two buildings on the campus.
Copelan said about a third of Novavax employees will work on campus full time, another third will be remote and the rest will have a “hybrid” schedule both remotely and in person.
Gaithersburg executives have been optimistic about expanding Novavax’s presence in the city, as the company works to develop its own COVID-19 vaccine, joining the existing three.
Novavax has applied for emergency clearance for the use of the vaccine in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and plans to do so in the US next year, a company executive told NPR last week.
Mayor Jud Ashman on Monday called the expansion of Novavax’s presence “a victory for the city of Gaithersburg”. The two new city council members elected last month, Lisa Henderson and Jim McNulty, were also enthusiastic.
“Prior to our election to the board, we talked a lot about the Gaithersburg world-class biotech corridor, and it will be a crown jewel of this corridor,” McNulty said.
Henderson said she was in awe of the beauty of the campus as depicted in the map and that she is delighted that it is within walking distance of a nearby shopping center.
“All the hard work that has been done, Jim and I can celebrate and enjoy the beauty of this,” she said.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]