Open Space Featured Prominently in Plans for North Potomac Yard

When construction on the $1 billion Virginia Tech Innovation Campus is completed, it will be a mostly walkable campus with underground parking and significant open space, according to a presentation Tuesday by the Virginia Tech Foundation and developer JBG SMITH.

The first phase of development will occur at the current location of the Regal Potomac Yard movie theatre, which is closed due to the pandemic. It is unknown if it will open again before construction begins.

The developers unveiled plans for the first phase of development, which includes the construction of a 9-10 story structure will be located along E. Reed Avenue, Potomac Avenue and a campus green space. The building, as well as the other Virginia Tech buildings, will be built to reach LEED Silver certification and the areas immediately around it will include lawns and walking paths.

There will also be a slope of less than 5%, meaning that there will be no steps or handrails on the campus.

“The overall illustrative plan shows the project’s contiguous an interconnected network of open spaces that stretch between Potomac Avenue and George Washington Memorial Parkway,” said Simon Beer, a landscape architect with design firm OJB. “All of the design of these spaces at this point are conceptual in nature, as we present them today. Our team is going to continue to work with the city with you and with each individual building’s architect as we continue the process.”

The open spaces include Potomac Yard Park, a Metro plaza, a market lawn and a pedestrian plaza. Virginia Tech will take up four acres of the northern end near the Alexandria border with Arlington, and the underground parking will be available once the buildings are finished.

The development will also see the construction of three academic buildings dedicated to computer science research and development programs. The permanent campus is currently planned to be operational by fall 2024, and will accommodate 750 computer science master’s degree students per year and more than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

The city will undergo the approval process for the project’s preliminary infrastructure plan this June, in addition to an approval for a pump station to handle sanitary sewer flows from the proposed project and other off-site properties so that construction can begin in the fall.

Images via JBG SMITH

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