PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thursday is the deadline for proposals from cities hoping to land Amazon’s second headquarters.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have been working on their pitch for weeks, and Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will answer questions about it Thursday morning.
The second headquarters comes with the promise of 50,000 new jobs, so more than 30 cities are expected to make pitches. And many are doing whatever they can to get noticed.
Birmingham, Alabama, decided not to be subtle. It put huge Amazon boxes around town.
Christine D’Antonio’s Report:
The mayor of Kansas City slipped factoids about his city into his reviews of 1,000 Amazon products.
Tucson sent a 21-foot tall cactus to Jeff Bezos, which was returned.
Several cities, including Washington, D.C., are using Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa in their pitch.
Philadelphia hired a creativity team and sent a delegation to Seattle on a fact-finding mission.
And a city in California is offering a chance to co-develop the state’s next university, as well as a “Welcome Home Amazon Book.”
Here in Pittsburgh, there’s been some fun, like Primanti’s offering free sandwiches to all Amazon employees if they locate here. And Klavon’s Ice Cream in the Strip is offering up 50,000 free sundaes.
But in all seriousness, Moody’s Analytics ranked Pittsburgh in the top five cities with a real shot at landing Amazon.
We know County Executive Fitzgerald did go to Seattle to chat with Amazon; although, he won’t say much about it: “Well, I’m not going to talk about a private meeting that we had at this point.”
But it’s clear our area does have some advantages, like ready locations such as the Hazelwood Green site, and quality of life.
And Mayor Peduto points to something else.
“There are a lot of local connections to Amazon executives,” said the mayor. “Either born here, raised here, friends with somebody here. It’s amazing how far that Pittsburgh connection goes.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Liptak tells the “KDKA Morning News” the proposal isn’t just a county or city proposal.
“Everyone is part of this application…I get calls every single day; I get grabbed every single day, ‘How can I help?’ This isn’t a city or county or university or philanthropic or business community application, this is our regional application. Everyone is taking part and that is something we are all very very proud of,” said Liptak.
Mayor Peduto’s Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin says they have received support all over the region.
“We have support from as far away as Erie for this. Folks from West Virginia, eastern Ohio have signed on to our application so this is really a regional play to show the world that this is a place to come and grow with your families and do business,” said Acklin.
A few cities have decided not to make a pitch because of Amazon’s emphasis on subsidies and incentives.
Amazon is expected to make a decision next year.