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Virginia Tech Innovation Campus First Phase Approved By Council

Patch logo Patch 10/20/2020 Emily Leayman
a sign on the side of a road: On Oct. 17, Alexandria City Council gave approval for the first academic building at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. © Virginia Tech On Oct. 17, Alexandria City Council gave approval for the first academic building at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On Saturday, Alexandria City Council gave approvals that will allow construction to begin on the North Potomac Yard development that will include the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

The new approval allows a new 11-story academic building, below-grade parking garage, a campus plaza, and two temporary surface parking lots. The building will be one of three academic buildings on the north end of the development. The remaining two academic buildings would be considered under future requests.

City Council also approved development special use permits for six commercial buildings in the North Potomac Yard redevelopment. Developer JBG SMITH is planning office, retail, and residential uses for these buildings.

These three academic buildings and six commercial buildings are considered phase one of the development on an approximately 19-acre parcel with the now-closed Regal Potomac Yard movie theater and surface parking lots. The remaining 45 acres of the development would be part of the second phase and include land west of Potomac Avenue at the current Potomac Yard shopping center.

The review process for North Potomac Yard began in March with master plan amendments and design excellence standards, according to a presentation to City Council. The latest approval permits new building construction and the final conditions of the streetscape and open spaces. Final approvals are expected in winter for phase one of the development related to the building architectural design for the pump station structure, development special use permit for North Potomac Yard Park, and coordinated signage plan. There is no timeline yet for phase two of the redevelopment.

Virginia Tech is aiming to open the first academic building at the Innovation Campus to students in 2024. The campus has already welcomed its inaugural class — 79 students based in the DC region working toward master’s degrees in computer science and computer engineering. Innovation Campus executive director Lance Collins assumed his position in the fall semester, and an advisory board has been named to provide strategic direction to Virginia Tech leaders.

When completed, the campus will have 300,000 square feet of academic space and research and development facilities, 250,000 square feet of space for 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.

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