It stands to be one of the most exciting developments in Northern Virginia over the next few years: the creation of a $500 million “smart city” called the Gramercy District. News about the District broke recently in the Washington Business Journal, igniting a flurry of excitement about the development and what it means for the future of Loudoun County. 

Planned real estate "Smart City" in Ashburn, VAThe braintrust behind the Gramercy District is Minh Le, who describes himself as a “technologist.” A former managing director with Accenture, the Journal reports that he “has branched out into predictive data analytics, big data management and software development through a variety of acquired companies.” Now, Le is venturing for the first time into real estate. 

Along with his company, 22 Capital Partners, Le has proposed a 2.5 million-square foot development for 16 acres on the north end of the Dulles Greenway, right next to the planned Ashburn Metro Silver Line station. No less than Microsoft has faith in Le’s vision: the company has partnered with 22 Capital to provide “expertise, people, and capital” to the project in order to bring it to fruition. 

Gramercy District is set to be developed in phases, as is generally the case with these things. Phase 1A will include “a 268-unit seven-story luxury apartment building, 25,850 square feet of retail, rooftop amenities and five stories of structured parking.” It is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2018. Phase 1B will include the Ashburn Metro station plaza, a seven-story apartment building with 311 units, 5,000 square feet of retail, and a high-tech business center. It could be completed as early as “late 2019.” Phase 2 would bring a sizable hotel, a massive office building, an additional 330 apartments, and a towering parking garage. 

Gramercy District’s distinguishing feature will be that it is a “smart city,” laden with technology in every nook and cranny of the building process. This spans from parking to retail to device-to-device communication. Le points out that tech companies and startups would find a perfect home here, with technology already in place. 

The District was initially planned as part of Comstock Partners’ Loudoun Station, an adjacent development spread over 26 partially-developed acres. The two communities were formally split in a December meeting of the Loudoun County Board. Gramercy District has the parcel that sits where the Metro station will be, and Le is well aware that everyone in Loudoun Station will have to cross through Gramercy to get to it. "We're going to capture that traffic," Le told the Journal. "Everybody's going to have to walk through our development."