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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh is one step closer to winning Amazon’s second headquarters.
The list of finalists is now down to 20 cities, and Pittsburgh made the cut.
But is there any downside? What can Pittsburgh learn from the site of Amazon’s first headquarters: Seattle?
“Seattle has experienced some growing pains, and hopefully, the next city can learn a lot,” said Jeff Shulman, an associate professor in marketing at the University of Washington. He also has a podcast titled: Seattle Growth.
He, like many, point to the increased cost of housing.
According to Zillow, the median cost of a home in Seattle was $280,000 six years ago, but now it’s skyrocketed to $688,000.
“There are people moving away, so it’s the chef, it’s the person who’s working on your lawn, it’s the school teacher,” said Shulman.
He also says there are traffic problems.
But Mayor Bill Peduto pointed out our city used to have population much greater than what 50,000 jobs would bring.
“This city had 700,000 people living within its borders. I know there’s a lot of people who ask, can we handle 50,000 additional jobs?”said Mayor Peduto. “Fifty thousand additional jobs means schools reopen. It means we have money to handle snow.”
And Shulman says there have been positives for Seattle: “Our tax revenues have gone up substantially as Amazon employees spend money in restaurants and bars and entertainment.”
He says Amazon has attracted other companies, and people from around the world.
“You’re seeing apartment buildings being built, so what was once one-story becomes seven stories,” said Shulman about all the growth.
Oddly enough, he says some people there fear what this second headquarters is all about, since so many people are employed at Amazon.
“I think some people are little skittish here in Seattle as to what does this HQ2 mean,” said Shulman. “Is it really an equal headquarters or is it an exit strategy?”
Amazon says it wants to dive deeper into the proposals and that will likely include a visit to Pittsburgh to check it out.
By the way, Columbus and Philadelphia also made the final 20 list.