Virginia Tech helped convince Amazon to bring thousands of jobs to Virginia

The new Innovation Campus will be less than two miles from HQ2

ARLINGTON, Va. – Virginia Tech announced Tuesday morning that it is building a $1 billion campus in Northern Virginia as part of the package that ultimately convinced Amazon to bring thousands of jobs to the area. 

After much speculation, Amazon officially announced Tuesday that HQ2 will be split into two locations: Arlington, Virginia and the Queens area of New York City. 

Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus will be in Alexandria, which will be located less than two miles from Amazon's new location in Arlington. 

Here's what the Innovation Campus will look like: 

The one million square foot Innovation Campus will be made up of academic space, cutting-edge research facilities, retail, housing for students and faculty and space to foster partnerships with businesses and start-ups. 

University leaders call it a hub for tech talent -- with programs focused on computer science and software engineering for grad students -- creating a pipeline from Virginia Tech to corporate powerhouses like Amazon. 

The Innovation Campus will start welcoming students next year, with plans to ultimately get up to 750 graduate students. 

Amazon’s HQ2 means an estimated 50,000 jobs. The company credited the Innovation Campus in Alexandria as a key component in its decision to locate in Northern Virginia.

The nationwide competition to attract Amazon's HQ2 was fierce, and more than 200 cities put together incentives to sweeten the pot. Part of that package is the 1 million sq. ft. graduate campus. Virginia is providing $250 million to help seed the project. 

Here's a look at what Virginia offered to Amazon and how Arlington will benefit:

Incentives offered to Amazon:

  • Performance-based direct incentives of $573 million based on 25,000 jobs created with an average wage of over $150,000.
  • Cash grant of $23 million over 15 years based on the incremental growth of existing tax on hotel rooms.

City Benefits:

  • More than 25,000 full-time jobs with average wage exceeding $150,000.
  • $2.5 billion investment from Amazon.
  • Facilities totaling 4 million square feet, with the potential to double in size.
  • Projected incremental tax revenue of $3.2 billion over 20 years.

Here is a statement from Cyril Clark, the Interim Executive Vice President and Provost at Virginia Tech: 

"There were a number of conversations that apparently were very important to Amazon, and one of those really had to do with the availability of talent. This is a really good example yet again of how the commitment to development and available talent has huge economic impacts." 

Here is U.S. Senator Tim Kaine's statement:

“I’m thrilled that our skilled workforce helped persuade Amazon to bring a major new headquarters and its tens of thousands of jobs to Virginia. Congratulations are in order to Governors McAuliffe and Northam and the local leaders who worked to ensure that this deal includes investments in our education and transportation infrastructure."

Here is a statement from U.S. Senator Mark Warner:

“As a former Governor, now Senator, but also as a former technology executive, I'm really excited about the potential Amazon offers not only to Northern Virginia but the whole capital region and the entire Commonwealth. We've seen that major investments like these can bring not only thousands of direct jobs but also lead to job growth in other industries. As we welcome Amazon's new investment in Virginia, we must commit to implementing this announcement in a way that will benefit the whole region and all of the Commonwealth.”

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