Corporate Research at Tech Center & Jefferson Lab Activity
The team of W.M. Jordan, Virginia Tech, Jefferson Lab and the EDA continued strong progress in 2016 toward establishing both new space and tenant occupancy for the first in a series of buildings planned for the Tech Center Corporate Research Park. The location of the first new building will be adjacent to and share parking with Jefferson Lab facilities. W.M. Jordan anticipates executing a contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia to purchase 3.2 acres of property on Hogan Drive for the planned 80,000-square-foot, three-story corporate research building.
Earlier in the year, the Planning Commission and City Council paved the way for this building’s development by approving the Phase One Master Development Plan, a vital step that set a high aesthetic level for this and all future corporate research buildings, their grounds and all connected wayfinding and building-related signage. Under the Master Plan, site, architectural and landscaping plans will be reviewed by both the EDA and the City.
Land assembly into the EDA also occurred in 2016. The EDA and W.M. Jordan entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2016, which will serve as the precursor to a full Development Agreement, and which is structured to provide a framework for three main components – acquisition of land, design and construction of certain public infrastructure improvements and management of certain public infrastructure improvements.
Meanwhile, construction on the Venture Apartments at Tech Center continued in 2016, opening 52 new units for occupancy in September, as well as the centrally-located community facility and pool area. All 288 luxury units will be available for lease by mid-2017, with each of the three buildings offering studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at market rental rates, starting around $1,000 per month.
Key to providing the proper entranceway to Jefferson Lab and the burgeoning Corporate Research Park, the City and W.M. Jordan in 2016 collaborated on a redesign of Hogan Drive, and City Council appropriated funding in fall 2016 from the Capital Improvements Plan to facilitate a start of construction in 2016, which will continue through the first months of 2017. The EDA partnered on this project by executing a Performance Contribution Agreement with W.M. Jordan to provide funding based on successful completion. Upon completion, Hogan Drive will have been upgraded from a two-lane, uncurbed road to a four-lane, curbed boulevard, with additional enhanced landscaping, sidewalks on both sides, new utilities underground, pedestrian connections between the residential and retail areas and planned first research building, plus modern lighting not found elsewhere in the City. There will also be a new median to improve both vehicular and pedestrian safety.
The EDA was pleased to see the continued commercial success of the Jefferson Lab spin-off manufacturing technology, boron nitride nanotube (BNNT), through its support of BNNT, LLC, which has pioneered the small-scale manufacture of BNNTs on the path toward up-scaling their production for numerous markets. The company was created with the purpose of refining the process of creating and manufacturing BNNT — one of the two strongest fibers ever made — for a variety of real-world applications in fields such as cooling electronic circuits, medical device manufacturing, ceramic composites, polymer composites, electrical and radiation shielding, extreme high-vacuum pumping, high and low temperature vibration damping, technical wiring and aerospace products.