District officials woo Microsoft for St. Elizabeths east campus


St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)

Gray’s economic development team wants Microsoft to commit to opening an “innovation hub” in Southeast D.C. on the 170-acre city-owned property across the street from where the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to consolidate its headquarters in the Congress Heights neighborhood.

Officials said Microsoft is considering the campus for both corporate offices and a Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC), a hub of services and programs aimed at growing local software companies. The company currently operates innovations centers in more than 20 countries, but has none in the United States. They are open to students, software developers, entrepreneurs and researchers.

Victor Hoskins, Gray’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said that Microsoft representatives had visited St. Elizabeths three times. Last week, three members of Hoskins’ team visited with Microsoft officials in Philadelphia and officials expect Juliano Tubino, director of Microsoft Innovation Centers, to visit Washington and discuss details later this month.

Gray, speaking at an event hosted by the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, said Microsoft had committed to the site, but Hoskins said the Microsoft deal wasn’t done yet. The company is “very, very serious” about the idea, he added. “I know mayor said committed…they are very interested,” Hoskins said.

MVM Technologies, an ink-jet manufacturer, already plans to relocate its headquarters and open an ink-jet plant on the east campus, which will create about 300 jobs. Gray said that with Microsoft and MVM, the east campus “really has the potential to be a technology hub.”

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.

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