Learn About JBG Smith and the Nation’s First 5G Smart City at Scale in National Landing

Author photo: Jim Frazer
ByJim Frazer
Technology Trends

Listen to an insightful discussion about JBG Smith's Digital Infrastructure Platform being deployed at National Landing, VA directly from JBGS' Vardahn Chaudhry, Vice President Smart Cities & Digital Infrastructure, and Adam Rashid, Senior Vice President .

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) said “I am thrilled to see this collaboration of leading private sector organizations to promote 5G deployment. American competitiveness in the deployment of 5G networks – and innovation in the emerging technologies 5G unlocks – remain key to our national and economic security interest.  As a proud Virginian, I am excited to see National Landing emerge as our first 5G community – and I look forward to wider deployment across the Commonwealth. This collaboration can be a blueprint for how digital infrastructure is deployed, and I am heartened by the prospects of the innovation this may unlock to advance our country’s competitiveness globally.”

 National Landing is a submarket nearly the size of Williamsburg Brooklyn, and an existing office density greater than downtown Austin, TX.  The submarket is in Arlington, VA and is home to Amazon’s HQ2 and Virginia Tech’s $1 billion STEM innovation campus. At full build-out National Landing will consist of over 30 million SF of mixed-use real estate, including office, residential, retail, public parks, and multi-modal transportation options. JBGS owns or controls nearly 70% of the existing and developable real estate in this submarket.

JBGS is deploying a robust digital infrastructure platform across National Landing that is purpose-built to stimulate innovation.

National Landing digital infrastructure platform will be the first of its kind in the nation and will be a blueprint for innovation districts across the globe going forward. The component parts of the platform include:

  • Fiber – Redundant/ubiquitous fiber with pre-wired fiber connections to nearly all buildings, public areas, and street furniture.
  • Edge Data Centers – Two urban edge data centers, acting as easy on-ramps to the cloud, locations for edge computing, and hubs for carriers & data aggregation.
  • Ubiquitous outdoor & Indoor 5G (MmWave and Mid-band) – True 5G at the mid and high band, allowing for Massive IoT Connection, Multi-gigabit speeds, and ultra-reliable low latency across the submarket.
  • Private Licensed Spectrum – JBGS controls 70MHz of private CBRS mid-band spectrum and will offer it to innovative users to enable private 5G networks for testing and scaling products on private secure cellular wireless networks.


Taken together, the JBGS digital infrastructure platform enables and unlocks the potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution and industries including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, and Cloud/Edge computing.

While other innovation districts have focused on building clusters for traditional “placed-based” innovation, in National Landing we are combining traditional place-based innovation with the digital infrastructure required for the industries that are at the forefront of our nation’s economic growth, competitiveness, and national security.

With JBGS' digital infrastructure platform as the foundation for innovation for industry 4.0, JBGS is inviting, creating, and curating partnerships with key technology ecosystem participants to accelerate innovation in this city of the future.

Listen in to this fascinating discussion here:



Read a subset of the transcript below.

Jim Frazer - Welcome to another episode of the smart city Podcast. Today I'm very pleased to be joined by Adam Rashid head of smart cities and digital infrastructure at JBG Smith, as well as Vardahn Chaudhry, Vice President of smart cities and digital infrastructure at JBG. Smith. Gentlemen, thank you for coming today.

Jim Frazer - Let me ask both of you and feel free to chime in in any order. Your what brought each of you to this smart city space.

Adam Rashid - Yeah, I'll This is Adam, I'll get us get us started here. I think my path to Smart Cities is a bit kind of untraditional. Most of my career was in real estate finance. Prior to joining JBG Smith, I spent about six years doing real estate private equity, traditional investing and joined JBG Smith about three and a half years ago where I was fortunate enough to co found our Smart Cities practice here. And honestly, I had a fortunate meeting with an executive that was in the telecommunication space that was really raving about 5g and how it was really going to kind of change the built environment and you know the world in his from his perspective, then when I got to JBG realized that most of our holdings are in a place called National landing, which we'll talk a lot about. And because of our scale of ownership and control, we really had the ability to roll out digital infrastructure and 5g much faster and more seamlessly than kind of many other places. And so, you know, brought this thesis to the firm, that we could be one of the first to kind of have true 5g at scale, and rollout robust digital infrastructure to really drive our core business of owning, operating and building commercial real estate. And was fortunate enough to kind of get the backing of our senior team here. And, you know, three and a half years later, where we're off to the races, you know, building the US is first 5g Smart City at scale.

Jim Frazer - Well, that's, that's fascinating. Vardhan, what brought you to the smart city space?

Vardahn Chaudhry - Sure. So Jim, my, my path actually started back at jpg about two years ago. So I joined Adam and team at JBG. Back just before the pandemic started. And prior to that I was working at a consulting firm at Accenture for about a decade. And the majority of that time I was focused on this, you know, an amorphous, I'd say at times concept of smart cities. So we started on that journey back in 2011 2012, when the term was in its infancy, and I was fortunate enough to have that have had an opportunity as a consultant to travel the world and work with cities, municipalities, and then eventually mixed use developers and owner operators to try to crack the nut of what we met with smart cities and how to actually, you know, change the way urban environments were built from the ground up. And was fortunate enough to join Adam and the team in the JBG journey as a consultant. And one thing led to the next Adam said, hey, why don't you jump over the fence? And I was I was thrilled to do that. So the reason I did is because what we have here national landing is, as you'll hear from Adam, frankly, the first true Smart City, certainly in the country, but arguably the world so we're really excited to build what we have here.

Jim Frazer - Wow, that's great. Um, you know, for those of our listeners who might not know who JBG Smith is perhaps let's start with a little background about the company and then their role in the smart city ecosystem.

Adam Rashid - Yeah. So JBG Smith, we are a publicly traded real estate investment trust. We're based here in the Washington DC metro area, exclusively focused on building Mix. used Urban development here in the Washington DC Metro. And you know, our current form is JBG. Smith is really a product of a merger of two companies. So the JBG companies’ long history in Washington, DC of urban placemaking, and real estate private equity investing, where, you know, we've physically transformed many emerging neighborhoods from the ballpark to Shaw to 14th Street. And then in late in 2017, we, we merged with Vornado out of out of New York City, who had a large holdings in the Washington DC area, and we spun out a new company called JBG. Smith. And as a part of that spin merge, as we call it, came with it, this area that we call national landing, which is where the majority of our company's value is held. And it's really kind of three historic submarkets, Pentagon City, Crystal City Potomac Yard, kind of all in the Arlington and Alexandria areas of Virginia, so directly across the river from Washington, DC and adjacent to the Pentagon. And we have the, you know, fortunate place to have won the Amazon HQ to pursuit and so we were actually building Amazon's second headquarters for them. And then we're also building a new innovation campus for Virginia Tech, which is a billion-dollar campus focus on STEM innovation. And in the middle of those two phenomenal acres, is where most of our holdings are where we own or control about 70% of the existing and developable real estate, which again, gives us tremendous size and control in the sub market, which is, you know, roughly the size of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and with an office density, the size of downtown Austin, Texas today. So that's, that's where we play. And that's really where we are kind of developing to badass point this, this Smart City, which is wanting to be the first in the nation. And Nevada, you want to talk a little bit about kind of what our role is kind of in the smart city space in this place. Well, before.

Jim Frazer - That's great. So gentlemen, for if we do have collaborators, which I'm sure we will on are listening to this podcast, how do they contact both of you

Vardahn Chaudhry - be really happy if folks could actually come and visit us and see what we're building your national landing, the easiest way to get in touch with us is to check out the national landing website, and L dot JBG. smith.com. And also, Jim, we're happy to give you our contact info, you know, you can reach us, Adam and myself by email, and we'd be happy to get in touch.


Engage with ARC Advisory Group

Representative End User Clients
Representative Automation Clients
Representative Software Clients