PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Amazon announced Thursday it’s building a second headquarters, and Pittsburgh already appears to be on the short list in what’s certain to be a tough competition among several major cities.
Amazon is growing by leaps and bounds. Employing 30,000 employees just six years ago, now they have nearly 200,000. City leaders are grinning just at the prospect of Amazon jobs.
“I think this is right in our sweet spot for Pittsburgh,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
Mayor Bill Peduto quickly indicated his intention to make sure Pittsburgh was in the running.
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) September 7, 2017
“With an unmatched portfolio of technological talent and intriguing development parcels, Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to submit a winning bid for Amazon’s facility. This is a transformational opportunity unlike any that we’ve ever seen,” Peduto said in a release.
Amazon’s looking for a metro area with a population of more than 1 million and a business-friendly environment. Fitzgerald says we have all that and a lot more.
“With technology, with affordability, with quality of life,” he said. “With the fact that we work together so well.”
Some major publications are already saying Pittsburgh is a finalist. Hi-tech website GeekWire.com picks Pittsburgh along with Toronto, Boston, Austin, Chicago and Atlanta.
Amazon’s hometown newspaper The Seattle Times lists Pittsburgh along with Austin, Boston, Denver and New York City.
“We’ve got sites in the city, in the urban core, around universities,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got sites near the highways, like, say, out near the airport.”
There’s three main reasons many give Pittsburgh the edge: CMU, CMU, and CMU. Carnegie Mellon University and the tech companies it spawned are a major attraction.
“This is the future,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re talking about a company that’s really embraced the future. This isn’t a company that’s hanging onto something that used to be.”
In the end, the competition will be steep. A bidding war will likely break out.
“It’s going to probably take some significant investments,” Fitzgerald said. “But when you’re talking 50,000 jobs and the economic impact that this will have, it’s something we’ll be willing to do.”
Amazon wants proposals by Oct. 19. City, county and state leaders will meet Friday to begin making a bid and find out if they can deliver.
Amazon will make a final decision in 2018.
It may help that Amazon and Pittsburgh are no strangers. Amazon opened a corporate office on the South Side in January.