Philadelphia News

Pittsburgh, Philly submit their proposals for Amazon HQ2

Pittsburgh, Philly submit their proposals for Amazon HQ2

Author: Alanna Koll/Thursday, October 19, 2017/Categories: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia

Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have submitted their proposals for consideration for their chance to land the highly sought after second headquarters of Amazon after they announced last month that they were looking to build a second headquarters, touting 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment for the lucky winner.  


The cities met the October 19 deadline for application submittal. 


“Today’s the day,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at a press conference in Pittsburgh Thursday morning. “The collaboration brought together to do this was just tremendous. I know the proposal that we put together, we did very well.”  


Titled “Future. Forged. For All,” Pittsburgh’s proposal is accompanied by a website, HQPittsburgh.com, highlighting the region’s talent, technology, and affordable quality of life- three aspects that Mayor Bill Peduto is confident will persuade Amazon to choose the western Pennsylvania city.  


“What will bring them here is our cost of living and the amount of talent that they can get for that cost. It is second to none in this country,” he said. “You can’t go to Boston or Austin or Denver or Chicago and be able to afford what you can afford in Pittsburgh.” 


Over the past six weeks, Pittsburgh has worked to compose a dedicated project teamdubbed PGHQ2, comprised of area business, university and foundation leaders such as HR&A Advisors and the PNC Financial Services Group, to craft a plan within the requirements that Amazon identified in its request for proposal.  


To help finance that bid, the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority has committed $50,000 towards, while the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County authorized up to $100,000 on contractors and consultants.  


While details of that proposal have remained under wraps due to a non-disclosure agreement the city signed with Amazon and the state, Fitzgerald noted the Pittsburgh region has been getting ready for an opportunity like this for the past 30 years.  


“This isn’t something that has come together in a little over a month, this is something we’ve been doing and working on for years,” he said. Whether it’s the great neighborhoods, the great sites that we’ve been preparing, the amenities and quality of life around parks, trails, arts and culture is just tremendous.”  


More specifically, Fitzergald and Peduto touted the city’s work on education, investments in the Pittsburgh international airport, a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and, most importantly, affordable housing as strong investments that will attract Amazon.  


Recent reports have indicated that Seattle, home to Amazon’s original headquarters, has seen the prices of housing and cost of living skyrocket since Amazon landed in the city in 2010.  


Questioned if he thought Amazon could have the same effect on Pittsburgh, Mayor Peduto said he would use the economic growth spurred from the online giant being in the city to benefit many social issues.  


“We have the unique situation, unlike Seattle, where we have 17,000 vacant and blighted houses in the city of Pittsburgh. We have areas that have seen no growth for fifty years,” said Peduto. “Seattle didn’t face those types of challenges. What we have is an opportunity to use this as a catalyst to see economic growth and development in parts of this region that have seen none. To recognize areas and create incentive programs like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund that can be complimented with additional funds.”  


While few sites have been disclosed as potential spots for the headquarters, the 178-acre Almono site in Hazelwood and the former Westinghouse building in Churchill have been mentioned. Twenty property owners and developers in Allegheny, Fayette, and Washington counties have also sent the PGHQ2 team their proposals for potential sites.  


Per its request for proposals, Amazon is requesting a metro area of 1 million people or more for its second headquarters, with an ideal location being 30 miles within the population center, 45 minutes to an international airport, and access to public transit.  


“I think our chances are very good,” said Mayor Peduto. “I can say that we are considered to be one of the front runners.”  


Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney thanked his Amazon HQ2 coalition that put together the city’s bid at an event on Thursday, calling Philadelphia the “Goldilocks zone for Amazon.”  


Our location is central on the Northeast corridor, our talent pool is vast, and Philadelphia has all of the amenities Amazon’s employees want, at a lower cost than other big cities,” said Kenney in a statement.  


Like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia also created a website that accompanies the city’s proposal, philadelphiadelivers.com, which includes interactive maps and videos highlighting the Philadelphia region’s talent, logistics, livability and three proposed sites for the headquartersuCity Square and Schuylkill Yards in University City and the Navy Yard. 


“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Philadelphia region,” said Board Chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, John Fry. “We have the talent, size, space, location and leadership that a great company like Amazon wants.”  


Mayor Kenney announced that he will kick-off his “Philadelphia Delivers” campaign next week where he will speak with city businesses to hear how Philadelphia can build off the Amazon bid and strengthen the city’s business attraction and retention efforts year-round.  


Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are among over fourteen other cities vying for Amazon HQ2.  


An announcement on its second headquarters is expected by Amazon next year.  

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