George Mason University seeks developer for Arlington campus expansion
The $250M Institute for Digital InnovAtion will be located near Amazon HQ2.
George Mason University is seeking a development partner to design, construct and operate its proposed $250 million Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA) set to open in September 2025 on its Arlington campus.
The university has released a request for proposals (RFP) seeking for partners to build 400,000 square feet of new building space adjacent to its current campus in the Virginia Square neighborhood in Arlington. In November 2018, Mason announced the expansion of its Arlington campus as part of the state’s tech-talent pipeline initiative to grow computing programs and increase the number of graduates with skills being sought by Amazon.com Inc. and other tech employers in the commonwealth.
The $250 million allocated for the institute will go to constructing buildings, creating programs and hiring additional faculty. Mason announced in November 2018 that it plans to add a School of Computing as part of the IDIA expansion.
The IDIA campus will include labs, coworking and public programming spaces, ground-floor retail, a parking garage and a public plaza. Currently, the university anticipates that 38,000 square feet will be needed for classrooms, 71,500 square feet for labs, 62,500 square feet for offices, 15,000 square feet for retail and 146,000 square feet for parking, according to the RFP.
“This will be a game-changer for Mason faculty, staff and students and for our academic, corporate, and community partners,” Deborah Crawford, Mason vice president for research, innovation and economic impact, said in a statement. “We envision IDIA as a place where discovery, innovation and learning flourish as individuals, organizations and communities work together to develop, deploy and study the utilization of technologies and systems that advance a more just, prosperous and sustainable world.”
With the expansion, Mason’s Arlington campus is anticipated to occupy more than 1.2 million square feet about 3.5 miles northwest from the site of Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters, which is currently under development in Arlington’s Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard areas.
“The Institute for Digital InnovAtion will anchor the Rosslyn-Ballston innovation corridor and serve as an engine of research, economic growth, job creation and new tax revenue,” Mason President Anne Holton said in a statement. “Private, nonprofit and public sector partners will be embedded in the innovation district with hundreds of faculty innovators, and thousands of graduate students in tech programs. This confluence of expertise and perspectives will propel the region’s innovation economy in the coming decades.”
Conceptual proposals for the project are due March 31. Mason anticipates the conceptual RFP process will conclude in May. A short list of development teams will then enter the second stage of the selection process. According to the RFP, Mason plans to enter negotiations with the selected developer between October 2020 and March 2021.