HQ2 (Over 17 Years):
Pittsburgh (with SouthSide Works expansion):
37,000 square feet
8.1 million square feet
HQ2 (Over 17 years):
8 million square feet
An Allegheny County judge has ordered the release of the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.
It’s definitely northern Virginia. No, it might be northern Virginia or it could be New York or Dallas. Or it might not be one city at all. It could be two — or maybe one with consolation prizes for some of the runners-up.
Investors aren’t coy about what’s the greatest uphill battle for entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh: There’s simply not enough cash floating around here for tech startups to latch onto.
A year ago, just before Amazon would set off an economic development arms race for a second headquarters that Pennsylvania officials have eagerly chased, the Seattle online retailer quietly pulled out of an earlier deal to expand distribution space here.
It estimated that the Steel City would need to increase the number of apartments available by 14.4 percent — or 1,840 units a year — to keep up with demand and to prevent skyrocketing rents, a problem that has plagued Seattle, Amazon’s home.
For HQ2 finalists, the silence coming from Seattle is anything but golden. As Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and 18 other cities or regions await word on where they stand in the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters, the words coming from the e-commerce king’s Seattle base apparently have been few and far between.
A state agency has ordered the release of the incentives that Pennsylvania is offering to Seattle e-commerce giant Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania has gone to court again to keep secret the incentives it is offering Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.
In all, the Seattle company’s team toured five primary sites in its search for a second headquarters during less than ideal weather in early April, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned. It apparently found the Strip District much to its liking.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto confirmed that Amazon representatives spent about 24 hours in the Steel City in what he described as a “real estate tour” to look at potential sites offered to the company in the region’s bid for HQ2. And he expects they'll visit again.
When Amazon comes to town looking hungrily for new hires, recruiting officers take up all eight conference rooms at the career center in Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. And then some. The scramble to gobble up talent isn’t limited to Amazon. Other mammoth tech companies like Google, Uber, Facebook and Microsoft, not to mention an ever-growing pool of young startup companies, are all trying to tempt students.
Don’t ask Alexa where to “warsh” the car. She’s probably going to spit out her catch-all for queries that she can’t compute: “Sorry, I didn’t get that.” But fear not. Dozens of engineers are working on the Alexa machine translation team at Amazon’s SouthSide Works office, and the staff is growing — HQ2 or not. Plus, a team of Pittsburgh-based researchers is a finalist in the Alexa Prize competition, which wants to build a conversational chatbot for Amazon.
Hazelwood residents know that Amazon, or another major company, may move into the neighborhood. “We know something is coming, but how will it affect our daily lives?” asked Jessica Petho, who grew up near the Glenwood Bridge, where the Monongahela River embraces the neighborhood in a bell-shaped curve.
While Amazon and its boosters tout the company’s expansion in Seattle as an economic success story, some locals have their own terms for it — “Amageddon” or “Amazocalypse.”
Pittsburgh has landed on the mother of all top 20 lists. The Steel City is one of 20 metro areas to make the cut in the frenzied competition for Amazon’s prized second headquarters.
Even without putting a second headquarters here, the Seattle e-commerce giant has built a sizable presence in the Keystone state — one that has increased dramatically since 2013.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are both going to court to keep the details in the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters a secret.