UVA’s Research Park Holds Open House
The alphabet is alive and well at the University of Virginia Research Park in northern Albemarle County.
The 562-acre research-oriented industrial park — with its eight buildings, 500,000 square feet of built-out office space and approval for another 3.2 million square feet of space — has become home to a variety of intelligence-gathering government contractors such as SAIC, CACI, SRC and TASC.
The defense contractors work closely with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, also known as the DIA, and the National Ground Intelligence Agency, known as NGIC.
“There are a lot of [organizations] that go by their initials and that’s because there’s been an influx into the community of intelligence-related contractors after the DIA moved into the area,” said Deborah van Eersel, chief of staff and marketing director for the park. “They looked for space near DIA and NGIC and we’re only a mile away.”
Research park officials held an open house Thursday immediately following an announcement by local economic leaders that the former TJPED, Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, would become the CVPED, Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development.
The open house included tours of the park’s laboratories and the university’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, which researches effects and impacts on the human body caused by factors from car crashes to aviation.
“We thought it gave us an opportunity to open up to the community,” van Eersel said. “The research park has become a center for companies working with DIA and NGIC because of our location near the government agencies and the technology developed at the university.”
That technology is made available to contractors through UVa’s ARI, the Applied Research Institute.
“We work with tenants to identify and solve problems requiring expertise that is available through the university,” said Alf Weaver, of the ARI and a computer science professor at UVa. “We’re a portal into the expertise created throughout the university, from engineering to behavioral sciences.”
The park is owned and operated by the University of Virginia Foundation, which oversees UVa investments in real estate, which include research parks, office parks and hotels such as the Boar’s Head, Cavalier Inn and the Emmet Street Econo Lodge.
The park’s tenants develop relationships with the university in research, relationships that have led to products being created by tenants, new research being developed at the university and providing internships and employment to UVa students and faculty.
Besides the intelligence community, the park is home to several medical research organizations and a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch.