George Mason University always faces a faculty and staff housing need in northern Virginia’s expensive housing market, especially for employees moving from different parts of the country with lower housing costs. It can be hard for new employees to find housing quickly in a desirable location and price range.
During the late 1990s, Mason leadership discussed the prospect of a housing program to address the challenges that new faculty often faced in finding housing in the high-cost region. While there was no funding for housing allowances, the university did have land and a willingness to explore creative ideas.
To make the project’s benefits available to the widest audience, Mason opted to develop Masonvale, a rental housing project with a three-year maximum tenancy. The rental units make available a regular supply of high-quality housing that the university can promote as a way to recruit new faculty and staff. Masonvale also offers a valuable transitional opportunity for new arrivals by providing a conveniently located, lower-cost housing option while they settle in, get to know the area, and look for more permanent housing.