Innovation Campus location

Area map of Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

Virginia Tech announced June 10 the location for its new 1 million-square-foot Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia, at a press conference where both President Tim Sands and Sen. Mark Warner spoke.

“The Innovation Campus will anchor the northern Virginia Tech district with groundbreaking new programs and impactful human-centered research,” said Michael Stowe, director of media relations at Virginia Tech. “We expect it to be a leading magnet for tech talent and innovation, increasing the region and the nation’s global competitiveness.”

The Alexandria campus will be located south of the future Amazon headquarters (HQ2) in Arlington and Reagan National Airport. The campus will be on a 65-acre mixed-use development space and only occupy 15 acres of that land. The remainder is being used for office space, additional buildings, hotels, housing and more.

The Innovation Campus will cost $1 billion and is a future home to students studying “forward-facing” technologies, offering courses in programs such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, according to WAMU radio. Virginia Tech also introduced a new graduate engineering degree in computer science and applications for students attending the Alexandria campus.

“The one thing I think we’ve always lacked in northern Virginia — we’ve got great other educational institutions all around the national capital area, but we have not had the world-class research facility that the Innovation Campus will produce,” Warner said at the press conference. “As we think about where we’re headed in this global economy — around cybersecurity, around artificial intelligence, around quantum computing — the innovation that will be created on this campus will be a great benefit for the whole commonwealth and for the whole nation.”

The new campus will house graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students beginning in fall 2020. Students will attend classes in areas that neighbor the future campus, according to VT News. The new Alexandria campus will join seven Virginia Tech facilities already in northern Virginia, along with 60,000 alumni currently living there.

Virginia Tech is partnering with Lionstone Investments, a “data-analytics driven real estate firm,” and JBG SMITH, a real estate investment trust, to construct the new campus. The Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, will station outside of the Innovation Campus, a few stops away from HQ2. Virginia Tech plans to integrate the Innovation Campus in the local community.

“We want Alexandria residents, workers and visitors to share in the excitement and success of the region’s growing tech sector with key partnerships and collaborations,” Stowe said. “We are committed to supporting the Alexandria public school system and working with neighboring academic institutions, civic groups, and corporate and nonprofit partners to prepare students to fully participate in the technology economy.”

With the Amazon headquarters close, some industry leaders believe that Virginia Tech students will likely funnel into the company and that a heavy focus will be placed on product technology at the Innovation Campus. Amazon has stated it will create up to 38,000 jobs by 2034 because of the development of HQ2, according to Business Insider.

“Virginia Tech has a 50-year history in this region, but this was the right opportunity to expand our presence,” Stowe said. “Our partnership is with the state, not Amazon, but we absolutely expect Amazon will want to hire our graduates. We also expect dozens of other tech companies in the region to hire them as well.”

This vast number of jobs is due to the Virginia Senate subsidizing up to $750 million over 15 years to Amazon, in hopes to boost the local economy by providing higher-wage positions. In addition, plans call for space for ground-floor retail at the Innovation Campus, presumably to boost the economy further and connect with the surrounding community.

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