Support

After Amazon, Arlington’s Top Business Booster Pitches A ‘Silicon Valley on the Potomac’

After helping convince Amazon to bring 25,000 jobs to Arlington, Victor Hoskins could probably be forgiven for looking for his next challenge.

The county’s top economic development official has already bounced around the Washington region a bit over the course of his career, serving in similar roles in D.C., Prince George’s County and even Maryland’s state government. But few of the deals Hoskins struck in those jobs could hope to rival the agreement he worked to forge with Amazon, in terms of both size and controversy.

Accordingly, it might seem perfectly reasonable if Hoskins wanted to walk away from the county after pulling off such a mammoth transaction — or perhaps parlay his Amazon-sized success into a bigger payday elsewhere.

But even with Jeff Bezos and company set to head to Arlington, Hoskins says he isn’t going anywhere. Though the tech giant plans to invest billions in the county, he believes there are still plenty of challenges left in Arlington that he hopes to tackle.

“Frankly, I want to see this through,” Hoskins told ARLnow. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity… because we still have an 18 percent office vacancy rate. When we get down to a 10 or 12 percent vacancy rate, then I’ll consider leaving.”

Like many other county officials in recent weeks, Hoskins emphasizes that the 25,000 workers Amazon plans to move to Crystal City and Pentagon City will only help replace the similar number of employees who’ve left the area in recent years, as federal agencies and the military have headed elsewhere.

That means he sees plenty of room for Arlington to keep adding jobs, and he fully expects that the county’s economic development arm will have a key role in guiding that process.

“We’re expecting 25,000 jobs of Amazon, but at least another 25,000 over the same 10-, 12-year time period from all the supportive services or ancillary services to the company,” Hoskins said. “That means a few years from now, we could be down to a 12 percent office vacancy rate if everything goes right. But that takes hard work.”

Hoskins says it certainly helps to have a “seal of approval from the largest tech company in the world” in bringing in other high-tech businesses too. Though he’s waiting until the county and state formally sign off on the Amazon deal — a process that could wrap up as soon as February — to start courting anyone too hard, Hoskins would also concede that luring other Silicon Valley firms will be a key part of his strategy going forward.

“We’re going to be looking for companies that start deciding, like Amazon, that they need an eastern seaboard location,” Hoskins said. “And many of those are west of the Mississippi.”

He envisions branding Arlington as the next Silicon Valley, perhaps “the Silicon Valley on the Potomac,” a shift in thinking that he believes the county kicked off years ago that contributed to its successful courtship of Amazon. Part of that work will be marketing Arlington’s ever-growing tech workforce, another key piece of the pitch county and state officials made to Amazon.

For instance, Hoskins expects that the state’s investments in new, tech-focused higher education efforts in the area (including a new Virginia Tech “Innovation Campus” in Alexandria and a beefed up computer science program at George Mason’s Virginia Square campus) will send tens of thousands of graduates with high-tech degrees into the workforce in the coming years. And he hopes that other local universities will follow that lead, even if they weren’t included in the Amazon deal.

“UVA’s [Darden School of Business] opened up an MBA campus right in Rosslyn, and I know they’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘Could we raise some money in the tech arena and build on some state funds here?'” Hoskins said. “And I think we have a whole host of other universities that will come on board.”

Of course, the quality of Arlington’s public schools were another factor that lured Amazon to the county, and Hoskins expects school officials to play a role in readying students to potentially enroll in those programs.

“I know our schools are already having conversations with George Mason University and others to see what kind of cross-training they can set up to take advantage of these resources,” Hoskins said.

Yet Hoskins says that his intense focus on the future doesn’t take away the pride he feels in having helped pull off such a massive deal in Arlington. Though community concerns abound about the tech giant’s potential impact on everything from the housing market to traffic, Hoskins believes the positives for the county were enough to leave him practically giddy when he first heard the news that Amazon tabbed Arlington.

“I was exhilarated, are you kidding me?” Hoskins said. “It was 14 months of pins and needles… I’ve got a 91-year-old mother, and she told me she was delighted to hear about this. And it took her a long time to even understand what I do for a living, so that means the world.”

Photo via @ArlChamberVA

Recent Stories

Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 7916 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today…

Plans to redevelop a local YMCA may have too many apartment units and not enough community benefits, county planners say. The YMCA is proposing to tear down its existing facility…

A 3 BD/2.5 BA condo that sold for $2,374,500 and a 1 BD/1 BA condo that sold for $145,000 are included in Most and Least Expensive.

A woman was groped, followed and pulled to the ground by an unknown suspect in the Lyon Park area, police say. The incident happened last night (Wednesday) around 5:30 p.m….

With holiday season around the corner, it is easy to put your health on the back burner. If you are looking to get back on track during the holiday season, we are here to keep you accountable. At Aspire Higher Training, we offer 1-1 Personal Training for ALL fitness levels, Semi-Private Group Training, Sport Specific Training and Injury Prevention/Post Physical Therapy Training. Monica and her team of trainers are available across Arlington, Va.

If you don’t have access to a gym, no problem, we are located in South Arlington, but if you want to workout from your home/apartment gym, we also offer that flexibility. We make it as convenient as possible. Before getting started, we offer a free 15-30 minute consultation call to see how we can best help you towards your health and fitness goals. Let’s gets started on your health and fitness goals today by setting up a call at your earliest convenience: https://www.aspirehigherfitness.com/contact

Submit your own Announcement here.

Hello Everyone — You are invited to the final meeting of NAACP Arlington Branch NAACP for 2022
When: Dec 12, 2022, 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: 2022 General Membership Meeting — NAACP Arlington Branch
Register in advance for this webinar

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

7:00 pm Meeting Opens.
7:30 pm Installation
8:00 pm Presentation/Q&A; by Dave Schutz on Ranked Choice Voting
8:30 pm Final Remarks and Comments by Newly Elected Members
9:00 pm Meeting Adjourns

Installation Official Robert N. Barnette, Jr. President, Virginia State Conference NAACP The President of the Virginia State Conference NAACP will serve as the Installation Official and provide remarks for our newly elected officers at the general membership.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Light Up Arlington – Clarendon Menorah Lighting

Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!

Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration

Experience the festival of lights!!

*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah

Read More

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist

×

Subscribe to our mailing list