Versatile online retailer Amazon is looking for a new place for their second headquarters and Mayor Jim Kenney is stepping up to the plate for Philly in a big way. He tweeted on Thursday saying how Philadelphia would be a perfect location for the new headquarters which is projected to hire 50,000 employees at an average salary of $100,000 and spend more than $5 billion over the course of 10 years. Kenney eagerly expressed his interest in landing the company's newest home in Philly by in no uncertain terms saying he looks forward to submitting Philadelphia's proposal.
While Amazon will keep its current Seattle HQ in full swing, it's looking for a home in a more eastern equivelant. This, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon's announcement already has numerous leaders including mayors and governors from Philadelphia, Chicago, Rhode Island, Hartford and St. Louis.
Cities have until the 19th of October to submit their proposals via a website created specifically for the bidding and vetting process. While Amazon would not spell out all of their requirements on where it prefers to land, it did list a few requisites that will rule out quite a few cities, but not Philly!
The new HQ's requirements are that the city be a metropolitan area with greater than 1 million people, foster a stable and business-friendly environment, be an urban or even suburban location that could be seen as attractive for top technical talent and the city should be able to thing big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options. The company stated that the new site should also have proximity to major highways and that it should prioritize "shovel-ready" greenfield sites, with the inference that most existing buildings may not be able meet its hefty requirements.
This can put Philadelphia in a "prime" position to make a run for the winning bid.
Amazon HQ in Seattle, Washington is currently over capacity and bursting at the seams. The campus currently has 8.1 million feet of space, 33 different buildings, 24 restaurants and boasts over 40,000 employees working there at any given time. The new HQ should be near transit and have more than enough room to grow to the tune of over 8 million square feet, which is the space being used by their current headquarters.
A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney's office, Lauren Cox, noted that it would surely be a very competitive process but that Philadelphia had some distinct advantages over other cities sayin that Philly would provide Amazon with a perfectly located East Coast hub where they have ready access to a highly talented pool of rapidly growing millennials. She went on to highlight that the city is significantly more affordable than other competing east coast cities with similar population sizes.
Philly residents are showing their confidence already as some sites have already begun debating the best part of Philadelphia to house the tech giant. In a recent online poll, residents are weighing in with Schuykill Yards the most popular, the Navy Yard in a distance second, followed by an even more distant North Philly.
In their search, Amazon points out the positive effects its corporate presence has on local communities note how the neighborhood where they are currently situated. 10 years ago the area was nothing but car parts stores and low-rent apartment buildings, but since they've been there the area is a boomtown of high rise office complexes, beautiful apartment buildings and upscale restaurants.
In Kenney's bid to make Philadelphia Amazon's second home, he finds a friend and partner in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his team as well.
Philly's residents are lauding Mayor Kenney's eagerness to land the company. This is good news for the mayor who has come under fire from critics for his 'soda tax' initiative, as well as residents who stand to benefit from the presence of the giant corporation and the money and jobs it brings with it.
The winning city will be announce in 2018.
This doesn't make up for the soda tax Kenney implemented which robs hardworking citizens.