Amazon isn't the only big player setting up shop in Northern Virginia.

Virginia Tech is building its new $1 billion Innovation Campus in Alexandria, just south of Amazon's behemoth second headquarters, the university's president, Tim Sands, announced Monday. The Innovation Campus will offer graduate-level courses in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and quantum computing--industries that already have a strong presence in the region. What's more, the new facility will include an incubator space for startups, offices for industry collaboration, and a ground-floor retail space. The first class of graduate students is expected to enroll in 2020 and Virginia Tech expects the campus to be fully operational in 2023.

The school announced plans to build its campus last November, as part of the tech-talent pipeline package created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to lure Amazon to build its HQ2 in Northern Virginia. Having nearby universities that could supply Amazon's growing workforce was one of the requirements for cities applying to host HQ2.

The Innovation Campus, in addition to Amazon's HQ2, is expected to attract new talent to the area, boost funding for local companies, and draw attention to some of the region's lesser-known but growing startups, say members of the region's business community. Amazon expects to create 25,000 new jobs through its HQ2 in the region in the next decade. However, it could also create more competition for talent.

"With Amazon in our backyard, the nation's capital will be known as much more than just a data center corridor," Jeff White, the founder of location intelligence startup Gravy Analytics, told DC Inno in November of 2018. "The location of an Amazon HQ here will bring valuable attention to our region as one of the top places to work and live, and could be the springboard for additional capital investment and a cycle of growth for startups in the region."

Published on: Jun 12, 2019