Southwest Virginia could benefit if Amazon picks Northern Virginia for its second headquarters

Northern Virginia is one of 20 finalists for Amazon's HQ2

BLACKSBURG, Va – Twenty communities are still in the running to become home to Amazon's second headquarters, including Northern Virginia.

"Part of it is HQ2, what they would be doing in that particular area fits this Northern Virginia area really well," said Kevin Carlson, an associate dean in Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business.

Ten News spoke with Carlson about any impact a North Virginia headquarters would have on Southwest Virginia. He said it could be big for local colleges and universities.

"We see that all of the schools in the Commonwealth are increasing the graduation rates for people in high-tech positions and management of high-tech companies," Carlson said. "We're seeing that ramp up, so that feeds into the kind of labor market that somebody like Amazon would be looking for."

He added that an Amazon headquarters in the Commonwealth could also attract alumni back to Virginia. 

"I think the opportunity to bring our graduates home and bring our alumni from our colleges and universities back to Virginia would be an interesting side benefit."

Amazon said it will spend $5 billion in the area where it builds its second headquarters and will create 50,000 jobs. Carlson said that significant investment can also come with growing pains.

"Probably see some increases in traffic flow," Carlson said. "They'll see some increases in housing prices and other things."

Amazon expects to make a decision this year on the location of its second headquarters. Carlson said any location that lands the headquarters can expect an uptick in its economy, an increase in high tech jobs and growth in its job market.

"I think it's absolutely huge for any city who's going to be lucky enough to have Amazon's new headquarters there."

Richmond and the Hampton Roads area also submitted proposals to Amazon but didn't make the cut.

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