University buys $16M building in Virginia

The University recently purchased a $16.6 million office building in Ashburn, Va., that will increase the size of GW’s Virginia campus by about 25 percent.

The Virginia campus, which is roughly 25 miles from Foggy Bottom, is currently home to three GW buildings, two of which are used mainly for administrative offices and a third that houses the National Crash Analysis Center.

GW is planning to renovate the new building, which is roughly 70,000 square feet, from office space to both classrooms and research facilities by next fall. Graduate and certificate programs in fields ranging from civil engineering to landscape design are currently located on the campus, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said he expects the building will be filled with similar programs after renovations are complete.

Loudoun County records show the University paid $16,593,612 for the building, exceeding the assessed fair market total of $14,559,700. But University spokeswoman Tracy Schario said tax assessment numbers do not directly impact the price of a property, and the figures often differ.

The building, tentatively named “Research II,” will be used for academic purposes only but is expected to free up other buildings on the Virginia campus for additional administrative offices. For several years, GW has moved a variety of administrative “back offices” to Ashburn, including the tax office and financial aid.

Three hundred administrators have already been transferred to Virginia, and the University plans to move many more according to GW’s campus plan.

“We have a multi-year strategy to move as much back office space as possible,” Katz said. “As rent increases in Foggy Bottom and as Loudoun County space increases, we want the offices not only off campus but out of Foggy Bottom.”

While announcing the purchase of Research II, University President Steven Knapp called the Virginia campus an “integral component” of the University’s quest to become a top-tier research school. Other components of Knapp’s research plan include a $5.4 million allocation to fund research projects and assist faculty in securing outside funding and a $300 million proposed science center in Foggy Bottom.

-Sarah Scire contributed to this report.

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