Virginia Tech announces larger site for Innovation Campus

Virginia Tech announces larger site for Innovation Campus
A rendering of the future Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. (Rendering: Virginia Tech)

By Missy Schrott | 

The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus coming to Alexandria will be located on a much larger site than the one announced last fall, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands announced this morning. 

The $1 billion campus will now be located in Potomac Yard on the east side of Route 1, adjacent to the planned Potomac Yard Metro Station. As part of a 65-acre mixed-use development district, it will be twice the size of the original parcel of land, according to a news release. 

Virginia Tech, city and state leaders announced in November that the university planned to build a graduate campus in Alexandria as part of the deal that brought Amazon’s second headquarters to Northern Virginia.

To attract the tech giant, Northern Virginia leaders branded National Landing, a neighborhood that comprises parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. While Amazon will be located in the Arlington portion of National Landing, the Virginia Tech campus will be based in the Alexandria portion.

A 2014 map of the city’s Oakville Triangle planning area. (Map: City of Alexandria)

Early plans released in November called for the campus to be located in Oakville Triangle, a triangular planning area that falls within the city’s Potomac West small area plan along the west side of Route 1.

The early plans also called for the campus to cover 1 million square feet, including about 300,000 square feet of academic space, 250,000 square feet of partner space dedicated to startups and corporate facilities, 350,000 square feet of housing space for students and faculty and 100,000 square feet of retail and support spaces.

This morning’s announcement makes clear that those plans have undergone a major shift.

The new campus site has the advantage of being directly adjacent to the planned Metro station and closer to the planned Amazon headquarters. While the campus itself is slated to remain at 1 million square feet, it will become part of a 65-acre – roughly 2.8 million-square-foot – mixed-use development district, according to the release. Plans for the mixed-use district include open space and ground floor retail.

A map of the National Landing neighborhood, which includes Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. (Map: Virginia Tech)

The new mixed-use district will be planned and developed by JBG Smith, the real estate investment trust that owns most of the existing properties in the Arlington portion of National Landing, and Lionstone Investments, a real estate investment firm, according to the release.

The first class of Innovation Campus master’s degree students will enroll in the fall of 2020 and take classes in existing buildings adjacent to where the new academic buildings will be built, according to the release. When the campus is completed in about 10 years, it is expected to have the capacity for 750 master’s candidates, as well as hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

“We’re extremely pleased to have this opportunity, in partnership with Lionstone, to establish the Innovation Campus in the heart of the National Landing technology district,” Sands said in a statement. “It is the ideal location to support Virginia Tech’s bold plan to develop new tech talent, disciplines, programs and human-centered research that will shape the economic future of the commonwealth and beyond.”

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