Biggest lure for Amazon to Virginia may be campus, not cash

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — As he assessed his state's winning effort to lure 25,000 Amazon jobs to northern Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said the key may not have been the hundreds of millions of dollars that were promised if the company delivered on its job-creation promises — indeed, many states offered much richer incentive packages.

(Virginia Tech President Tim Sands speaks at the school's announcement of a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it's two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen))

Instead, he said what made Virginia's bid distinct was "investments in our people," particularly a $1 billion Virginia Tech University graduate campus to be built near the new Amazon headquarters that will churn out hundreds of qualified high-tech workers annually.

"Virginia's proposal to Amazon represents a new model of economic development for the 21st century," Northam said in a celebratory press event Tuesday in an old warehouse that will be knocked down to create Amazon office space. "The vast majority of the commonwealth's proposal is investments in our people that will align with Amazon's long-term goals."

The linchpin of that investment is the "Innovation Campus" planned for the Potomac Yard neighborhood of Alexandria, just a couple miles south of where Amazon will be.

The campus will be part of Virginia Tech, and the first 100 master's degree students will enroll next year in temporary space. When it's finished, the campus will enroll 750 master's degree candidates, train hundreds of doctoral students and will include on-campus housing, officials said.

Read more at The Oklahoman

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