Long before Northern Virginia emerged as a global high-tech center, the state government in the 1980s hoped to plant the seed for that type of growth with the construction of an architecturally memorable structure at the intersection of Rt. 28 and the Dulles Access Road.
While critics have said that venture, the Center of Innovative Technology, never really lived up to its billing, the Dulles Corridor has since filled up with Fortune 500 companies and spurred some of the nation’s best-known startups.
This week the incubator space was sold to affiliates of Origami Capital Partners and Timberline Real Estate Partners. Proceeds from the $47.35 million deal will be directed toward efforts to drive research and job creation in emerging technologies, according to the announcement from the governor’s office.
Previously, the property had been identified as a possible landing for Amazon’s massive headquarters project, which ultimately went to Arlington.
The proceeds will be deposited into the Virginia Research Investment Fund and will help fund the new Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority. The VIPA was created during the 2020 General Assembly session at the request of the Northam administration to support research, development, and commercialization, as well as investment and seed-stage funding to help entrepreneurs launch and grow technology companies—goals the administration of former Governor Chuck Robb laid out when it originally secured funding to build the CIT in the 1980s.
“The sale of this valuable property will help fund innovation programs for the Commonwealth and transform the way Virginia invests in higher education research and job creation in high-technology fields,”Gov. Ralph Northam stated in the announcement of the sale. “The newly-formed Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority will focus on job creation, new company formation, investment in applied research projects, and capital investment in Virginia companies. This is an exciting opportunity to enhance Virginia’s position as a regional and national technology leader.”
The property consists of a 149,000-square-foot office building located on a nearly 26-acre site straddling Loudoun and Fairfax counties just east of Dulles Airport. The site include access to the Silver Line at the Innovation Center Metrorail Station.
“This event represents a significant milestone toward the goal of delivering to Northern Virginia a development that will entice and excite major corporate tenants,”saidJeff Young, managing partner of Origami. “We know companies will embrace the project and resolve to focus on delivering a development to the residents of Northern Virginia they will celebrate. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the commonwealth, Loudoun and Fairfax counties.”
The General Assembly declared the property surplus in 2016. Last October, 12 proposals from 10 potential purchasers were submitted to the state. Negotiations with the winning bidder began in November.