ARLINGTON, VA – On Friday, November 3, George Mason University, development consortium Mason Innovation Partners, and contractor Clark Construction Group brought together university researchers, faculty, staff, industry leaders, and project partners to commemorate the achievement of a major construction milestone – the building’s structural topping out. The day-long celebration began with an event highlighting the research and innovation that will take place in the building and ended with a ceremony to recognize the contributions of the workforce that have been instrumental in bringing Fuse at Mason Square to life.
A new, 345,000-square-foot hub for digital innovation, Fuse will be the catalyst for innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs to collide, interact, and thrive. By integrating collaborative labs, workspaces, and proactive and curated programming, Fuse will promote the exchange of new ideas and the transfer of technology between Mason’s researchers and students and industry partners to accelerate the development of digital innovation.
Fuse at Mason Square officially broke ground in April 2022. Over the last year and a half, craftworkers have installed 2,200 tons of rebar and placed more than 20,000 cubic yards of concrete to form the building’s structure. Fuse is slated to open in summer 2024.
Mason Innovation Partners is a consortium that includes Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate as developer and investor, Harrison Street as a capital partner, and other key project development members, including Page as architect and Sandy Spring Bank as lender.
"George Mason University is the largest and most diverse institution in the state of Virginia,” Mason President Gregory Washington said. “Countless generations of students will be educated here in the technologies of the future and they will go out and impact the world. This significant impact would not be possible without the hard work that you are putting in today.”
The topping out ceremony was held in the building’s future conference and convening space on the ground floor. During the event, craftworkers were treated to lunch from nearby restaurant Pollo Rico and custom keepsake T-shirts, as well as a raffle with prizes donated by project stakeholders.
“This milestone achievement is a direct result of the dedication and commitment from each of our project partners and the trade workers onsite,” said Ryan Knox, Project Executive with Clark Construction. “The contributions to drive this project forward on schedule, while keeping safety and quality top-of-mind, is evident in the craftsmanship and progress of a facility that will be a flagship space for this university.”
With less than a year left until completion, Fuse at Mason Square is nearing peak construction. Currently, 260 craftworkers are operating on-site each day, collectively putting in place more than $2 million of work each week. Now that the concrete structure is complete, workers will begin to install over 450 precast concrete panels to create the building’s iconic façade.
The development and construction team has focused on providing opportunities to small-, minority-, and women-owned (SWaM) businesses throughout the project. To date, Clark has awarded 39 percent of the project’s construction subcontracts to SWaM businesses, and the project is on track to exceed all participation goals.
“We are so grateful for each of the craftworkers and partners that has contributed their talents to create the unique space that will enable Virginia’s workforce and the tech economy to thrive,” said Brian Naumick, Managing Director at Edgemoor. “Fuse directly addresses the tech industry’s demand to co-locate the talent pipeline, research, and industry, and we’re thrilled to bring the building to life with our first industry partners and many more to come.”