PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Where once Parkway Center Mall drew shoppers, the building is now mostly demolished, and grass is growing up through the asphalt of the parking lot.
It may look bleak to the casual observer, but Curtis Kossman sees nothing but possibilities.
“We consider it to be one of the best located sites in the city of Pittsburgh,” says Kossman.
Kossman says they only had about a week to come up with a proposal in order to make the local deadline for Amazon site consideration. What his team came up with is a master plan of “5.2 million square feet of office space above 600,000 square feet of retail built on top of 19,000 parking spaces.”
The Parkway Center plan also calls for housing and a 39-acre park surrounding it all, featuring “hiking trails, biking trails, and downhill mountain biking trails. A place to live, work, and play,” says Kossman.
Kossman believes his site meets all the criteria Amazon is looking for.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff Kevin Acklin says, “We think that they like sites in and around the urban center with high degree of sustainability, and a commitment to environmental accountability.”
As the deadline passed, more than 20 locations had submitted proposals to be put on the Amazon list. Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald says all of the entrants will be on the list submitted to Amazon.
“I think the more sites that we have and the more options we give, the stronger our case will be,” he said.
Mayor Peduto says the team working on the Amazon submission will create an apples to apples comparison of the sites based on what Amazon has spelled out what it wants. Peduto says some sites will probably fall short on Amazon’s criteria, and, “although they may not be able to offer all of it, their component might be a part of it.”
Fitzgerald says Amazon’s HQ1 is spread over 33 locations in Seattle and he expects they want multiple sites of HQ2.
“They don’t want just their own self-contained campus they want to mix in with the community and be in a number of neighborhoods,” says Fitzgerald.
The locations that submitted proposals come from Allegheny and it’s surrounding counties. Places like Pittsburgh International Airport, the old Civic Arena site, the Almono site in Hazelwood, the former Westinghouse Research center along the Parkway East, sites on the South Side near Station Square and in Manchester are all on the list.
But the submission to Amazon will be about more than just locations. Fitzgerald says a key part of the proposal will include information about the affordability and quality of life attributes of the region.
The submission is due to Amazon on Oct. 19. Amazon wants to move into HQ2 by early 2019.