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Virginia Tech’s West Falls Church campus sold for redevelopment as construction hub

A new headquarters for HITT Contracting will anchor the redevelopment of Virginia Tech’s campus near the West Falls Church Metro station (courtesy Gensler)

The remaking of Virginia Tech’s campus near the West Falls Church Metro station as a futuristic mixed-use development can officially begin.

The university and Falls Church City completed a sale of the 7.41-acre Northern Virginia Center site to developer Converge West Falls LLC last week, the city announced Wednesday (Nov. 15).

Approved by the Falls Church City Council in August 2022, the $25 million sale required the city to terminate Virginia Tech’s 40-year lease on the property at 7054 Haycock Road. Falls Church retains about $8.4 million of the proceeds from the sale, with the remaining $16.57 million going to the university, according to agreements authorized on July 25, 2022.

The sale paves the way for the academic center’s transformation into a new headquarters for HITT Contracting, a construction company currently based in Fairview Park near Merrifield. The development will also include a construction research lab for Virginia Tech and apartments with ground-floor retail.

“This closing marks an important milestone in a decade-long planning effort initiated by the City of Falls Church,” Falls Church Mayor David Tarter said in a statement. “We are excited about having the national headquarters of HITT Contracting and the Virginia Tech Coalition for Smart Construction as neighbors to our West Falls project.”

Part of a push to revitalize the West Falls Church Transit Station Area, the Northern Virginia Center redevelopment has been in the works since 2019 but stalled in early 2021 after Virginia Tech and HITT decided not to move forward. The lease termination and sale agreements with Falls Church helped revive the project last year.

Converge — a joint venture of HITT and the developer Rushmark Properties — submitted a development plan in September 2022 that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved on July 25.

In a formal unveiling this week, HITT shared that its new six-story, 270,000-square-foot headquarters will emphasize sustainability and serve as a “hub for education and innovation in construction,” while also providing better access to mass transit for its more than 900 local employees.

Features will include a 100,000-square-foot rooftop solar panel array and 40,000 square feet of ground-floor space for Virginia Tech’s new Coalition for Smart Construction, a research center that “will advance building practices and ultimately shape the industry’s future.”

HITT says its research and development team already has over 20 projects that it plans to work on at the new headquarters.

Notable ventures already in progress include a newly patented prefabricated building skin that reduces weight, increases speed to market, and creates more efficient buildings. HITT is pioneering the first use of the Caracol Heron AM robotic arm installed in the US for 3D printing, aimed to augment traditional construction methods, and implementing robotics on-site to support an enhanced experience for HITT’s field team through technology-enabled workflows.

“As an industry, we have to do better to tackle the challenges of rising costs, labor shortages, and our environmental footprint,” HITT Co-Chairman Brett Hitt said. “I believe that Virginia Tech will push the boundaries of construction by bringing its brilliant students to a space where they can work alongside our industry’s brightest minds. Bringing industry and academia together under one roof will help us effect real change.”

Outside the construction world, the project will also deliver a 13-story, 440-unit apartment building with up to 18,000 square feet of retail, 55,000 square feet of urban parks, and a portion of West Falls Station Blvd, a new road that will link the also-redeveloping West Falls and Metro station properties.

HITT CEO Kim Roy said the company is “ecstatic” that it will “continue growing in Fairfax County.

“We’re thankful to the City of Falls Church, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Fairfax County for supporting our plans to build this cutting-edge development,” Roy said. “We’re deeply committed to being good stewards of the local community and the environment.”

According to HITT, construction on its headquarters is expected to begin in early 2025 and finish in late 2026.

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