‘An extraordinarily positive day for Virginia’
Community, business, and political leaders expressed excitement about Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus at the June site announcement in Alexandria.
On Monday in Alexandria — in front of a room packed with media and community, business, and political leaders — President Tim Sands announced plans to build Virginia Tech’s 1-million-square-foot graduate campus in the city as part of a new mixed-use development in National Landing.
This prime location, to be situated on 15 acres south of the Four Mile Run stream that separates Alexandria and Arlington, positions Virginia Tech and its future partners near the nation’s capital, diverse industries, and leading tech companies, including Amazon’s HQ2. It also will be steps away from a future Potomac Yard Metrorail Station.
Sands and others, including Senator Mark Warner and Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, spoke about the site and its extraordinary potential during the announcement.
“It’s truly the perfect place for our vision to unfold, strategically located in a growing innovation district,” Sands said. “We plan to integrate the campus into the fabric of Alexandria and to be part of the energy and spirit that make this community special and unique.”
The campus will join a 65-acre mixed-use district planned and developed by Lionstone Investments and JBG SMITH. Lionstone is a real estate firm that invests in U.S. locations with concentrations of highly productive jobs.
Virginia Tech announced plans to build the Innovation Campus in Alexandria last November. The campus is part of the tech-talent pipeline package created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and approved by the General Assembly to attract Amazon to build HQ2 in Northern Virginia.
It will feature academic classrooms, incubator space for new startups and research and development, offices for industry collaboration, and convening space for alumni events. Plans also call for public open space and ground-floor retail.
Though the campus is centered on graduate education, Sands said Monday that Virginia Tech undergraduates also will use the campus for research, internships, and other opportunities.
Its location is optimum. The campus will be situated about a quarter of a mile from a new metro station, the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, which is being developed on the Yellow/Blue lines at the south end of the property. Additionally, Reagan National Airport is one metro stop north of the site, and Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City is two stops away.
“This is exactly what we envisioned for this fast growing area of our city,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, who lauded the news as an “exciting time” to be mayor.
Wilson said the city envisioned that the site, which currently houses the Potomac Yard shopping center, eventually would be redeveloped. The future mixed-use development there will include retail and other commercial space.
“We envision this partnership in helping to create a vibrant and diverse mixed-use community, one that has best-in-class living, working, playing, and most importantly, education,” said Jane Page, president of Lionstone.
The first class of Innovation Campus master’s degree students will enroll in 2020 in existing space adjacent to the area where academic buildings eventually will be built. When complete, in about 10 years, the campus is expected to enroll 750 master’s candidates and hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Its first new degree, a master’s of engineering degree in computer science and applications, was approved last week by Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors.
“This is an extraordinarily positive day for Virginia,” said Warner. “The innovation that will be created on this campus will be a great benefit for the whole commonwealth and for the whole nation. This is the kind of world class facility that we’re all hoping for.”
Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone