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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
ArlingtonMason moves ahead with Arlington innovation effort

Mason moves ahead with Arlington innovation effort

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George Mason University’s plan to develop a major compound in Arlington focused on technology has taken another step forward.

The university’s board of visitors has authorized staff to begin official negotiations with the newly formed Mason Innovation Partners as the potential development partner for the effort, to take place on the university’s Arlington campus in Virginia Square.

The expansion will feature up to 360,500 square feet of new space dedicated to producing the next generation of Northern Virginia’s technology workforce, both for the public and private sectors. The new building will be a mixed-use, multi-tenant space housing faculty from Mason’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion and the proposed new School of Computing.

Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in early 2025.

“We are thrilled to move to the next stage in this process,” Mason president Gregory Washington said in a statement.

Mason Innovation Partners is a consortium that includes Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate as developer and investor and Harrison Street as a capital partner, as well as other project development team members.

The campus expansion is made possible through $84 million in funding from the General Assembly. The university has committed to raising a similar amount, of which $21 million already is on hand.

The project is seen as critical to the Virginia state government’s Tech Talent Investment Program, a 20-year effort designed to produce 25,000 additional graduates in computer science, computer engineering and software engineering.

The state government “has been proactive in identifying the skills needed by tomorrow’s workforce, and has combined that with real action,” said Jimmy Hazel, rector of Mason’s board of visitors. “As more and more technology companies land and grow in Virginia, George Mason University will be the key source of employee talent.”

The building itself will incorporate advanced cyberinfrastructure and design to support digital innovation, active learning, cutting-edge research and tech incubators. There also will be collaboration and convening spaces to support public programming for the Arlington community, ground-floor retail, a below-grade parking garage and a public plaza.

For commercial tenants, the building will provide proximity to the Mason community.

“All of us at Mason are excited to be moving forward,” said Carol Dillon Kissal, Mason’s senior vice president for administration and finance. “Everything about this project is innovative. The Arlington campus will help transform the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and establish it as the top tech-talent pipeline in the commonwealth.”

The new facility will be located on the spot of the one-time Kann’s Department Store, which was purchased by Mason in the late 1970s and served as its first home in Arlington. The Arlington campus currently is home to the Antonin Scalia School of Law, the Carter School of Peace and Conflict Resolution,  the Schar School for Policy and Government and the Arts Management and the graduate programs of the School of Business.

University officials expect to finalize the agreement by the end of the year and begin construction in the spring of 2022.

PHOTO: A conceptual rendering of the future digital innovation headquarters at George Mason UniversityÕs Arlington campus. (Mason Innovation Partners/EYP)

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