County approves Inova’s vision for a world-class research and innovation campus


Inova’s vision to expand its Center for Personalized Health to create a destination for health innovation and discovery won approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on September 24.

The board approved updates to the county’s land-use plan for the center’s 117-acre campus across Gallows Road from Inova Fairfax Hospital in Merrifield. The changes are the first step needed to allow the health system to incorporate more academic and research space at its campus, plus add complementary housing, retail and hotels.

The center will establish the county as a health-sciences innovation hub helping to grow and diversify the economy, officials say. The center’s expansion will also benefit residents who will have access to state-of-the-art medical care such as the Inova Schar Cancer Institute that opened in May.

“I am so pleased that Inova continues to invest in our community through the expansion of their research and treatment center,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “This center will combine innovation, technology, and groundbreaking research to prevent and treat diseases. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will transform the lives of not just Fairfax County residents, but of those who visit in search of world-class treatment as well.”

Inova’s plan

The campus, which was once Mobil Oil’s headquarters and then ExxonMobil’s downstream headquarters, is already developed with five office buildings totaling more than 1.2 million square feet. The newly approved Comprehensive Plan envisions another 3.8 million square feet in possible development on the property’s western side.

Inova says that about half this proposed future development would be for academic partners led by the University of Virginia. Inova already has entered into a comprehensive research and medical educational partnership with George Mason University and U.Va. It will bring together clinicians who will work side by side with researchers from state universities and biomedical technology startups.

Center’s economic impact

By 2035, Inova estimates that activity on and related to the campus will generate $1.18 billion in economic impact, including $68 million in local and state tax revenue.

In addition to fostering a new innovation ecosystem, the center will help diversify the local economy and tax base, a key goal in the county’s economic growth strategy.

The campus also houses a startup accelerator and investment fund to help biotech companies expand. Its accelerator works with startups to provide education, capital and access to Inova’s resources. Inova also invests directly in companies and in health and technology venture funds.

“The Center for Personalized Health is a true game-changer for Fairfax County and Northern Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

“It gives people here new access to care and treatments that will save and improve lives,” Hoskins said. “It is a huge magnet for talented medical professionals and scientists who want to change and improve health care. And, the massive commitment made by Inova – the investment already made and the planned investment — becomes an important asset for us to develop the life-science industry in Northern Virginia.”

Community engagement

Fairfax County’s updated land use plan was developed with extensive community involvement. The county worked with a community task force that reviewed and shaped the land use recommendations over the course of 26 public meetings. In addition, Inova conducted quarterly meetings with neighborhood associations and held open houses throughout the process.

Article courtesy of the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs. Video courtesy of Inova Health System.