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Construction begins at Newport News research park modeled after Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

August 25, 2017

President Tim Sands speaks in front of a crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony of Building One @ Tech Center Research Park.

President Tim Sands speaks in front of a crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony of Building One @ Tech Center.
President Tim Sands speaks in front of a crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony of Building One @ Tech Center.

Construction on Building One @ Tech Center Research Park, an 80,000-square-foot building that will be the first of several structures built in the 50-acre research park located in Newport News, Virginia, began with the official groundbreaking Aug. 24.

Tech Center Research Park, which is modeled after the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, is being developed by W.M. Jordan Development Company, the Virginia Tech Foundation, and the City of Newport News and is adjacent to Marketplace at Tech Center and Venture Apartments.

The research park will provide the platform and synergy to attract tenants that desire a connected, collaborative, and smart community focused on growing business. The infrastructure is designed to provide supportive services to help businesses succeed.

Tenants in Building One @ Tech Center Research Park will have access to VT Knowledgeworks, a business acceleration program, videoconferencing, conference rooms, research-grade internet speeds, networking events, and co-working space. The location of Tech Center Research Park in Newport News’ Enterprise Zone includes economic and business incentives. The research park master plan includes walking and bike trails and access to all of the amenities at Tech Center.

“Virginia Tech is committed to bring faculty whose ideas and research will solve the world’s greatest challenges together with those who have the ability to form and grow businesses,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “The successful model of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg will now be applied in Newport News, and this will help the university expand our economic development footprint across the commonwealth and to a region that offers great opportunity for partnerships with corporate research entities.”

At the groundbreaking ceremony, W.M. Jordan displayed renderings of what will be Building One @ Tech Center.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, W.M. Jordan displayed renderings of Building One @ Tech Center.
Ten people, including the six speakers of the groundbreaking ceremony, participate in the ceremonial dig.
Ten people, including the six speakers of the groundbreaking ceremony, participate in the ceremonial dig.

“Everything is on track for Tech Center Research Park to become one of the premier research parks and innovation districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said John Lawson, CEO of W.M. Jordan Company and a Virginia Tech alumnus. “We anticipate the first businesses will move into Building One in August 2018. The proximity to the prestigious Jefferson National Lab is invaluable, and it is the only area in the City of Newport News that is zoned for research.”

"Newport News enjoys collaboration with Jefferson Lab that has already resulted in the commercialization of emerging technology based upon Jefferson Lab’s research,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price. “Tech Center Research Park is another example of how we can work collaboratively, drawing in the resources of Virginia Tech, one of the nation’s premier research universities, to further increase innovative R&D opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavors in our city."

W.M. Jordan Development Company purchased the vacant property at the corner of Oyster Point Road and Jefferson Avenue in 2010 from the College of William and Mary Foundation. When complete, Tech Center will comprise 100 acres. The concept is a hybrid that fuses the best components of today’s research parks and innovation districts to create a unique environment. The scope of the $450 million development includes Tech Center Research Park, with nearly 1 million square feet of office and laboratory space on 50 acres; 288 residential units at Venture Apartments; and Marketplace at Tech Center, anchored by Whole Foods, with more than 250,000 square feet of retail space.

An economic impact study by Magnum Economics projects that Tech Center will create more than 5,500 new jobs in Newport News, with half of them in the highest paying employment sector – professional, scientific, and technical services. The study also predicts the state and local tax impact of Tech Center at build-out to be in excess of $28 million annually.

“The world is really changing from a vantage point of technology. Having a place like Tech Center and the support of a university like Virginia Tech is a true game changer,” said Karen Jackson, Commonwealth of Virginia secretary of technology. “When one part of the commonwealth does well, the entire commonwealth does well.”

Tech Center Research Park will also leverage the presence of the Jefferson Laboratory's high-tech scientific and technical workforce and the international user community it serves. Additional benefits are the proximity to other national corporate, research, and defense entities, including NASA Langley Research Center, Langley Air Force Base, Canon, Alion Science and Technology, C² Technologies, and Triumph Aerospace Systems, in addition to numerous colleges and universities.

Sitting on more than 230 acres of land, the Blacksburg Corporate Research Center includes 1.2 million square feet of office space spread across 33 buildings. The park is home to more than 180 technology research and development companies that employ more than 3,000 people.

Building One @ Tech Center will reside across the street from Venture Apartments.
Building One @ Tech Center will reside across the street from Venture Apartments.
The six speakers of the groundbreaking ceremony pose for a picture before speaking. The speakers from left to right include Director of Tech Center Jeff Johnson, President and CEO of W.M. Jordan Company John R. Lawson II, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Commonwealth of Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, Mayor of Newport News McKinley L. Price, and Chair of Newport News School Board Gary B. Hunter.
The six speakers of the groundbreaking ceremony pose for a picture before speaking. The speakers from left to right include Tech Center Director Jeff Johnson, President and CEO of W.M. Jordan Company John R. Lawson II, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Commonwealth of Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price, and Newport News School Board Chairman Gary B. Hunter.
Ten shovels were placed in the dirt ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony to mark construction for Building One @ Tech Center.
Ten shovels were placed in the dirt ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony to mark construction for Building One @ Tech Center.

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