“Our primary criteria for this location was that we could build the size of the facility that we needed and that we were in close proximity to the Pentagon,” said Dean Graves, IDA Director of Special Projects. “We looked at a number of locations throughout the region but felt that Potomac Yard would provide the ideal research environment for the next 20-30 years.”
He added tongue-in-cheek, “We want to remind the City of Alexandria that it wasn’t long after we announced our move that Amazon decided to come to the area along with Virginia Tech so you should be thankful to IDA for that.”
Founded in 1956, IDA is a nonprofit corporation that operates three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers in the public interest. It has been headquartered in Alexandria since 1986 when it moved to the Mark Center in the city’s West End. IDA purchased the Potomac Yard site in 2016 for $10.1 million and officially broke ground in August of 2019.
“We were able to complete this project on time and under budget during the pandemic,” noted IDA Board of Trustees Chair Preston Geren. “This building will serve IDA for a long time into the future.”
IDA’s new facility in Potomac Yard consists of two towers that are connected via a skyway. Features include an auditorium that seats 300 people, a conference center with breakout rooms, a green room for speakers to prepare for events and other large conference rooms. The building also has a recording studio, which enables IDA to broadcast events, conduct external interviews and produce external videos.
“Our primary criteria for this location was that we could build the size of the facility that we needed and that we were in close proximity to the Pentagon.”
— IDA Director of Special Projects Dean Graves
The IDA facility is located near Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, the National Industries for the Blind headquarters and Kaiser Permanente’s Alexandria Medical Center. The long-awaited Potomac Yard Metro Station, located one block east at the foot of E. Glebe Road, is slated to open in the fall.
The new building was designed and constructed to achieve a Gold WELL Building certification and to meet LEED certification standards.
Mayor Justin Wilson was on hand for the ceremony, noting that the city will take over the previous IDA space on the West End.
“The city signed a lease to move into IDA’s former headquarters, which will enable the City's Department of Community and Human Services and the Alexandria Health Department to consolidate into a single location,” Wilson said.
Both parties signed the 15-year lease in May of 2020, with the city having the option to purchase. Occupancy is expected in February of 2023.
“IDA’s partnership with the city began nearly 40 years ago,” Graves said. “With our relocation to Potomac Yard, our longstanding partnership will continue many decades into the future.”