Two more partners have joined Microsoft in developing a $500 million smart city 30 miles northwest of Washington, DC – the first of its kind in the area.

The Washington Business Journal reports that the Gramercy District smart city project in Ashburn, Virginia has attracted two additional partners.

Private equity firm 22 Capital Partners, lead proponent of the Ashburn smart city initiative, announced it added the Center for Innovative Technology and George Washington University to the project. This follows news in March of co-investments in the project by technology leviathan Microsoft and Crescent Ridge Capital Partners.

As part of the initiative, a new umbrella entity for the project, 22 CityLink, is developing a “Smart City In-A-Box” platform. The replicable smart city platform aims to link “together all aspects of real estate development with a preconfigured, intelligent framework.”

The first test project of the platform will be the 16-acre Gramercy District in Ashburn that will underpin the smart cities that 22 Capital develops in the future.

Gramercy District in DC will be well connected

Gramercy District will have transit and commuter links to D.C., 900 residential units, a hotel, an office building, retail space, parking garages and a high-tech business center.  The smart city will boost connectivity to the areas along the corridor between Washington D.C. and Washington Dulles International Airport.

“We believe that modern technology is going to be a major force in urbanization projects and can improve the overall quality of life for the citizen,” said 22 Capital Partners’ Minh Le. “Our project is particularly ideal for this partnership because we are able to take a holistic approach to help foster breakthroughs in technology that will bring practical and economic solutions.”

George Washington University and its Virginia Science & Technology Campus in Ashburn will contribute its expertise in cyber security, data analytics and entrepreneurial development. The university is also a member of national smart cities initiative MetroLab Network that fosters cooperation between research institutes and municipalities.

Meanwhile the Center for Innovative Technology brings to the partnership its leadership in entrepreneurial ecosystems and early stage investment programs.

“Through this partnership we will look to harness this team’s diverse technology expertise and higher education program deployment with this project,” added Le. “Our goal is to build a strong public-private-academia partnership to drive innovation and higher education.”

The Gramercy District smart city news comes amid reports that predict that annual revenues from smart city projects will grow to nearly $89 billion by 2025. Despite this spending growth concerns are mounting that many smart city initiatives are focusing on solving peripheral issues, with few big projects tackling core city problems.