Three firms are finalists to build the Institute for Digital InnovAtion

George Mason University has named three prominent development firms as finalists to build and operate the Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA) on the Arlington Campus. 

The finalists, culled from a group of nine, include Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia, Maryland; Mason Innovation Partners of Bethesda (a joint venture of Edgemoor Real Estate & Infrastructure and Harrison Street); and Wexford Science & Technology of Baltimore. 

The winning firm is expected to be announced in late November. 

“We are moving into the next phase of IDIA HQ with such strong potential partners,” said Carol Kissal, Mason’s vice president for administration and finance. “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.” 

 In the next five years, Mason’s Arlington Campus will undergo a $250 million transformation that will serve as a critical catalyst for the further activation of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, a dynamic and growing innovation district with a thriving high-tech ecosystem. 

The anchor of that plan is the Institute for Digital InnovAtion, which will include approximately 360,000 square feet of new space adjacent to the university’s existing presence in Virginia Square. 

It will incorporate advanced cyber infrastructure and green technologies to support a mix of state-of-the-art tech-based research and related education programs, corporate innovation labs, and co-working and innovation programs for high-growth ventures. It also will include collaboration and convening spaces to support public programming for the Arlington community, ground-floor retail, a below-grade parking garage and a public plaza. 

The Mason IDIA will not only support the university’s tech-based research and related educational programs, but will provide collaboration and convening spaces to support public programming for the Arlington community. 

Mason made its original request for proposals in February, and later that month 105 developers, architects and engineers converged on Mason’s Van Metre Auditorium to hear about the expansion of the Arlington Campus. 

“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 Interim President Anne Holton said at the time.  

“We are excited to achieve this new milestone in the project progress,” Liza Durant Wilson, associate dean for strategic initiatives and community engagement, said of naming the finalists. “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.”