CoStar Group announces $18M commitment to VCU for the construction of the CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation


By VCUnews

CoStar Group, a leading provider of online real estate marketplaces, information and analytics in the commercial and residential property markets, today announced a historic partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University to support the development of its planned Arts and Innovation Academic Building through an $18 million commitment.

The project, tentatively to be named the CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation, subject to legal requirements and any necessary approval by the VCU Board of Visitors, the commonwealth’s Department of General Services, or other state agencies, will consolidate VCU’s nationally recognized School of the Arts, ranked fourth in the country among graduate programs, and innovation programs under one roof for the first time. CoStar Group’s investment adds to the company’s long-standing history of investment in educational opportunities in the city of Richmond and the commonwealth of Virginia. 

“VCU has proven to be a constant source of innovation and energy and CoStar Group has drawn heavily from its graduates and creative talent in recent years. As we continue to expand our business, our interests align seamlessly with VCU’s commitment to educational excellence,” said Andy Florance, founder and Chief Executive Officer of CoStar Group and a member of the VCU Board of Visitors since 2021. “I am confident that Dr. Rao’s leadership will continue to make a positive lasting impact and that he will be a thoughtful steward of the center’s resources. This partnership will support VCU’s world-class educational programs as well as contribute culturally to the city of Richmond and the commonwealth of Virginia, which CoStar Group calls home.”

“CoStar Group’s strategic partnership – the second-largest corporate commitment in VCU history – will provide a launch pad for generations of VCU innovators, artists, makers and performers,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health. “We’re excited about our plan to name the CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation, which will recognize the tremendous alliance that has grown between VCU and CoStar Group. This collaboration will enrich our students, CoStar Group’s workforce, and the city of Richmond alike.”

The planned CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation is expected to be a 213,000-square-foot multidisciplinary complex on a 1-acre site at the prominent intersection of Richmond’s Broad and Belvidere streets. Designed to be a resource not only for VCU but for the wider Richmond community, the planned design features flexible classroom spaces, interdisciplinary performance venues and makerspaces for rapidly growing partnerships across arts, business, humanities and sciences, medicine and engineering.

Activities in the building are expected to range from opera to quantum computing, integrating the disciplines of engineering, cinema, theater, immersive media technology, gaming and the creation of new knowledge. Groundbreaking for the project is planned for the fall of 2023. The center is expected to open to the public in early 2027.

Institutionally, CoStar Group has long advocated for educational investments as a pathway to success for young people, a belief mirrored by the personal philanthropic efforts of Florance. CoStar Group has been an active participant in programs that provide needed supplies to Richmond’s public schools and is a key supporter of Management Leaders for Tomorrow (MLT), which aims to train the next generation of diverse leaders in business.

Florance, who was named to the VCU Board of Visitors in 2021, received an honorary doctorate from the school in 2019. VCU is widely recognized for its academic excellence; its School of the Arts’ graduate program is nationally ranked fourth among public and private schools across the country and its Brandcenter is nationally ranked as the No. 1 graduate advertising program in the U.S and a top five digital media and marketing school.

VCU plays a major role in the cultural and economic life of Richmond, encouraging its students to be active stewards of the city they call home. In turn, CoStar Group has adopted and continually expanded its presence in Richmond for its diverse amenities, artistic and economic vitality and multitalented workforce – one trained in large part by VCU, which moves beyond classroom instruction to prepare its students to tackle real-world challenges at major corporations like CoStar Group.

CoStar Group first established its global operations headquarters in Richmond in 2016, and now employs more than 1,500 residents. The company recently broke ground on a new Richmond campus which is expected to more than double the company’s workforce in the city, with new jobs spanning research, technology, operations, software development and sales. Once the expansion is complete, CoStar Group is poised to become the largest technology company and one of the largest private employers in Richmond.

Lead Image: The planned CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation is expected to be a 213,000-square-foot multidisciplinary complex on a 1-acre site at the prominent intersection of Richmond’s Broad and Belvidere streets. (File image)