D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said Thursday at a meeting of the city's top business leaders that he hopes to have a deal in place within months to bring Microsoft to the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus.

"I hope to have an agreement in the first quarter of 2012 to be bringing an innovation center to the District of Columbia and ... in Ward 8," he said at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. "[It] will be a catalyst for economic development."

The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that Gray was negotiating with Microsoft for the tech giant to open a facility on St. Elizabeth's East campus. A spokeswoman for Microsoft would not confirm the talks.

Microsoft's innovation centers are technology facilities for collaboration on new research, technology or software solutions and include government, academic and industry participants, according to Microsoft's website.

The city hopes to turn its 170 acres on the St. E's campus into a science and tech hub for the Washington region. The other half of the campus is slated to house federal agencies under the Department of Homeland Security however budget cuts may delay that move. The U.S. Coast Guard is slated to move in 3,800 employees to the a new facility on the campus in 2013.