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Brewster to Amazon: Don't Forget the Mon Valley

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
October 03, 2017
Posted in: Announcements

While Pittsburgh political leaders are encouraging Amazon.com to locate its new headquarters in the Steel City, a state senator representing the Steel Valley wants to make sure his constituents aren't left out.

State Sen. Jim Brewster said that he has suggested former industrial sites in Braddock, Clairton, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh and McKeesport as possible locations for an Amazon campus, as well as another former industrial site in New Kensington, Westmoreland County.

“We have to be collaborative and work cohesively so that Amazon gets a full understanding of the array of sites that are available in our region,” Brewster, a Democrat from McKeesport, said. “There are plenty of locations in Southwestern Pennsylvania that are excellent sites and I am certain that the region’s application will be inclusive and strong.”

Amazon.com, the world's largest Internet retailer, is based in Seattle. But in September the company announced that it was looking to create a second headquarters campus somewhere in North America, and that it was prepared to spend up to $5 billion to do so.

The company expects the second headquarters to include "as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs" and claims it will create "tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment" in the surrounding region.

Amazon, which reported nearly $136 billion in revenue last year and employs more than 268,000 people worldwide, contends that it contributed $38 billion to the economy of the Seattle region between 2010 and 2016.

Before choosing a location, Amazon officials said they want to make sure it will provide at least 500,000 square feet by 2019, with an additional 8 million square feet available by 2027 and beyond.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto asked local property owners and developers to express their interest in landing the Amazon.com headquarters.

In a joint press release Thursday, Peduto and Fitzgerald announced that 20 property owners and developers had responded to their request, which they have dubbed "HQ2PGH."

"This is a tremendous response and confirms just how serious Pittsburgh is about landing this headquarters," Peduto said. "I want to thank everyone who expressed interest today --- if we are going to land this transformational project it's going to take the full support of every stakeholder in the region, and this proves we have that."

Neither Peduto nor Fitzgerald said they could identify the 20 property owners for "competitive reasons."

But Brewster had no such reluctance, and said he was encouraging Amazon.com to look at sites owned by the Regional Industrial Development Corp., or RIDC.

“The locations that I’ve mentioned have industrial parcels that have already been cleaned and prepared for development," Brewster said.

In a letter to the HQ2PGH committee, Brewster said there are multiple “clean and valuable” land resources within existing road networks that are located “along rivers, with rail access and a ready, willing and able workforce prepared to go to work.” 

In addition, Brewster suggested that local officials would be "creative" in helping devise the strongest possible response to Amazon’s request.

Brewster said he sent the HQ2PGH team recommendations of locations and encouraged them to follow up, and also offered to assist wherever necessary.

“The Pittsburgh region is (chock) full of valuable assets that can draw national and international business,” Brewster said. “We have a diverse economy, world-class universities, cultural attractions, ample industrial sites and an outstanding well-educated and skilled workforce."

HQ2PGH is a partnership of government agencies, businesses, universities and non-profit organizations set up to review all of the proposed properties over the next three weeks and determine which is the strongest possible bid to draw the second Amazon headquarters.

The company has asked for a formal response from all interested cities by Oct. 19.

Fitzgerald said the collaborative process being used is "just one more way" that Pittsburgh will distinguish itself from other regions seeking the Amazon campus.

"Our ability to work together and bring folks from varying interests to the table for a common goal is a unique part of our fabric, and one that will set us apart in this effort," he said. "The interest in this process and this bid has been substantial, and we are excited to see so many coming together to work collectively on this response.”

Responses came from locations across Allegheny, Fayette and Washington counties, the HQ2PGH team said.

The committee can be reached at AmazonPGH@pittsburghpa.gov.

(Editor's Note: This story was written entirely from press releases supplied by Amazon, Brewster, Fitzgerald and Peduto. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

Originally published October 03, 2017.

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