GMU selects three finalists for $250M Institute for Digital InnovAtion
Three Maryland development and property management firms are vying for contract
George Mason University on Monday announced three development and property management firms as finalists to build and operate its proposed $250 million Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), set to open in September 2025 on its Arlington campus. The university released a request for proposals in February, to which 105 developers responded.
The finalists are Columbia, Maryland-based Corporate Office Properties Trust; Bethesda, Maryland-based Mason Innovation Partners (a joint venture of Edgemoor Real Estate & Infrastructure and Harrison Street); and Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology.
Mason plans to announce the winner in late November. The $250 million allocated for the institute will go to constructing buildings, creating programs and hiring faculty.
“With everything going on in our world, we are heartened knowing that this project will ultimately help drive growth and job creation in the region. We’re confident knowing that any one of these three firms would be great; now we just have to choose the best,” Carol Kissal, Mason vice president for administration and finance, said in a statement.
Mason sought partners to build approximately 360,000 square feet of building space adjacent to its current campus in the Virginia Square neighborhood in Arlington. Mason announced in November 2018 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 state.
The IDIA campus will include labs, coworking and public programming spaces, ground-floor retail, a parking garage and a public plaza. When the university released the RFP in February, it was anticipated that 38,000 square feet would 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.
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.
“We are excited to achieve this new milestone in the project progress,” Liza Durant Wilson, associate dean for strategic initiatives and community engagement, said in a statement. “Each of the teams brings a track record of successful innovation development that will be invaluable as we create a partnership that will drive the region’s innovation economy.”