Tech behind Gramercy District smart city to be deployed in MakeOffices locations


By   –  Associate Editor, Washington Business Journal

The master developer behind the planned Gramercy District smart city in Ashburn has struck a deal with MakeOffices to install its technology platform in co-working spaces from D.C. to Chicago.

The Concept Foundry platform, developed by technologist Minh Le’s, will be deployed to a dozen-plus MakeOffices locations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois, both MakeOffices and announced this week. Powered by a technology called, Concept Foundry will include features such as an artificial intelligence personal assistant, digital marketing engine, an AI “sandbox” and tools to assist with rapid mobile app development.

“Our partnership with will provide state of the art artificial intelligence and collaboration capabilities for our members to innovate and stay relevant in today’s markets,” Arlington-based MakeOffices CEO Zach Wade said in a statement.

Through Concept Foundry, the various MakeOffices locations will be networked together to “create an ecosystem that breeds collaborative innovation and extends into the real world,” said Le,’s CEO and the founder of 22 Capital Partners, the private equity umbrella firm behind Gramercy District, and its related companies.

Missed our smart city primer? Check it out…

Le said the basic cost of the technology will be baked into the MakeOffice’s monthly lease, but his company expects to bring in revenue through fee-based subscriptions for additional services, education and training, marketing, and micro-application development.

MakeOffices, led by Wade and backed by a partnership of District-based developer MRP Realty and developer and banker Ron Paul, plans to open a flagship, 44,000-square-foot co-working location on the second and third floors of 800 Maine Ave. SW at The Wharf. will presumably be deployed there, as well, when it opens in early 2018.

As Le works to push his smart city technology to the outside world, he is simultaneously planning the $700 million Gramercy District, a 2.5 million-square-foot smart city approved for a 24-acre site adjacent to the future Ashburn Metro station on the Silver Line. The first phase, called Gramercy West, will feature a roughly 20,000-square-foot mixed-use building, to include retail and a Concept Foundry “innovation hub” beneath an above-grade parking garage.

Le’s deal with MakeOffices suggests the IT is ahead of the real estate, which, given Loudoun’s market and the fact that the Silver Line won’t open until 2020, shouldn’t come as a shock. But Le said the two — the tech and Gramercy — are inexorably linked.

“The Concept Foundry platform is integral to Gramercy District,” Le said. “We’re just now pushing it out to other locations early.”

The Gramercy West building is not likely to deliver before 2019. It would be followed by the first residential building in central Gramercy District, called Neon Lofts, to include roughly 300 apartments over retail. The Gramercy plan also calls for office and hotel, though no details have been announced yet.