The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved plans for the first phase of the massive North Potomac Yard redevelopment on Saturday.
Those plans include three academic buildings with significant open space dedicated to computer science research and development programs for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, open space and a mix of six residential and office buildings.
“This is a very significant set of decisions for the city, and is really going to shape, not just a portion of our city, but really the entirety of our city for a long period of time to come,” said Mayor Justin Wilson.
Saturday’s approval was necessary for Virginia Tech to meet its timeline of being operational at Potomac Yard by fall 2024.
The first phase of the $1 billion campus will see construction of three academic buildings dedicated to computer science research and development programs at Alexandria’s border with Arlington. The permanent campus will take up four acres and will accommodate 750 computer science master’s degree students per year and more than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.
“We made a commitment, the city made a commitment to do what he can do to get that campus and academic building open by the fall of 2024,” said land use attorney Cathy Puskar, who represents landowner JBG Smith. “And despite a pandemic and other interruptions, everybody has held to that schedule. So, it really has been a Herculean effort, and we’re really excited to be here today.”
The master plan amendment includes increasing building heights near the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station. Buildings in Block 15 would increase in height from 85 feet to 90 feet, and from 90 feet to 115 feet on Block 18.
Council is expected to approve the design of a pump station in the northern section of the property this winter. The property reserved for the pump station will be a temporary home for outdoor parking lots until the underground lots for the buildings under construction are ready.
Images via City of Alexandria