Why Philly is the city Amazon should pick, and why they won't - Technical.ly Philly

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Oct. 10, 2017 12:04 pm

Why Philly is the city Amazon should pick, and why they won’t

Software developer Chris Beiter is from PA but works in Seattle. Here he offers his unique perspective on what Philly still needs to do to lure Bezos and Co. to the City of Brotherly Love.

Part of Amazon's Seattle campus.

(Photo courtesy of Jordan Stead/Amazon)

This is a guest post by Chris Beiter, a senior software engineer at DocuSign.

I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, and Philly was always “The City” to me. I was an Eagles and Phillies fan, and going to a concert at the Spectrum or the Mann was the epitome of cool. But when technology began to explode in the mid-’90s and I wanted to get my foot in the door, Seattle was the perfect choice. And hey, I always had a soft spot for those Seahawks, who, like the Eagles, never seemed to be able to win the big one.

Fast forward a couple decades — including 17 years at Microsoft, Super Bowl rings for the Seahawks and a brief stint in San Francisco to work at tech startup (DocuSign) — and I found myself drawn back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family.

Philly was my first choice on the East Coast for a lot of reasons. Yes, I interviewed at a couple hot-sounding jobs in NYC, but I honestly do not enjoy the attitude, pace and cost of living there. Boston seemed great on paper, but I ruled it out because of its distance from Central PA. D.C.? Lived there for a few years already and was not a fan of the transitory nature to that town, or the whole taxation without representation thing.

So I decided on a tech job in the City of Brotherly love. I found an apartment and had two offers, but my current employer DocuSign countered with a remote-work role that allowed me to hold onto my unvested stock and Bay Area salary. So that’s what I did, for 18 months I worked from my home in South Philly and traveled back to Seattle to see my team every few weeks.

After the family stuff shook itself out, I found my lease in Philly expiring and my house in Seattle needing a lot of work after being rented for three years. This set off some soul searching, and I ended up moving back to Seattle to take care of my personal business and continue my career where there were many more tech opportunities. Still, I kept my eye on the tech job market in Philly, attended job fairs, etc., but nothing local ever came close to the position I already had in Seattle.

Why am I telling you all of this?

To explain what I think might be a somewhat unique perspective on Amazon’s headquarters search from someone who has recently lived in Seattle, Philly and San Francisco.

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It has led me to a couple conclusions:

  1. Philadelphia is the city that Amazon should choose for its second headquarters.
  2. Amazon won’t choose Philly because Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other authorities in the Delaware Valley don’t have the political willpower to put together an offer that could lure Amazon.

Let’s start with the good.

Philadelphia has so much going for it.

I’m probably preaching to the choir if you live there already. Although many Philadelphians may put on that tough exterior about their hometown jawn, reality is never as bad as we portray it. In fact, quite the opposite.

The best billboard.

A classic.

Philadelphia is amazingly well positioned on the East Coast with easy access to both NYC and D.C.

Real estate prices are not totally insane.

Cost of living is still somewhat reasonable.

The food, oh yes the food. I don’t need to tell you how good it can be — even if it’s not always the best for you.

Culture and arts? World class! Every act that tours the East Coast will make a stop in PHL, and even if they don’t, hop on a train for 90 minutes and see them at the Garden in NYC.

Traveling shows? Broadway performers doing side gigs in Philly? Happens all the time.

Need I remind you there is only one UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United States, and that is Philadelphia? No, I don’t.

Add to that a fully-realized, (usually) working transit system and easy proximity to the beaches in New Jersey and the mountains in the Poconos. I know, I know, they may not be the Cascades or Sierras, but it’s still just a few hours away to some beautiful rolling hills and the Appalachian Trail. Plus, affording that beach house in Jersey or a cabin in the Poconos is still within reach for many middle-class families.

But wait, there’s more!

Philly is a real community. People grow up and stay. They build lives here. Seattle and San Francisco can still be a bit of a revolving door (or meat grinder), especially with the crazy cost of living that even most tech workers cannot afford anymore.

Maybe my perspective is just too biased: “Italian/Irish/German guy feels at home in Philly” is not exactly a newsworthy headline. But after a few months of being there, the phrase I used when people asked me how I liked living in Philly was this: “Philly is the city I never knew I always wanted to live in.”

The endless murals dotting the neighborhoods, ethnic festivals that cover cultures from one side of the planet to the other and the most dedicated if somewhat pessimistic sports fans around. Philly’s got it going on.

Employees at a tech giant like Amazon would have the entire eastern seaboard at their disposal, great educational opportunities in their back yard and a progressive city to be anchored in. Certainly from an Amazon employee perspective, it’s hard to argue that Amazon could pick a better city that Philadelphia.

Beyond the employee-satisfaction metrics, Philly has a lot to make it attractive to Amazon’s bottom line, too.

It starts with available real estate near the city core and transit. There are many options for Amazon execs choose from, and they wouldn’t be the first major company to be headquartered here, with fellow tech giant Comcast NBCUniversal expanding its footprint as well. A Comcast-Amazon partnership could be exactly the type of synergy that Amazon is looking for.

Philly is also very close to a large pool of well-educated candidates. It’s within about a 45-minute drive of two Ivy League schools, plus dozens and dozens of nationally ranked state and private schools. When you include the entire Delaware Valley from Wilmington to Trenton, the region is incredibly rich with educated folks, many of whom have to leave the area if they want to work for a big tech company.

The work Penn and Drexel are doing in West Philly with their tech centers is exactly the kind of incubator that needs to be in place to foster a tech startup environment. But thus far, the fire has not lit in Philadelphia, and many tech companies choose King of Prussia, Radnor or Conshy instead of being in the city (wage taxes, anyone?).

While the fire may not have fully caught yet, there are certainly lots of sparks and smoke, and some lucky company will seize this opportunity before it ignites.

Will it be Amazon? Sadly, I think the answer is no.

Why do many information/tech workers want to move to California, Washington or Massachusetts? It’s not because they all love the New England Patriots or the 49ers, that’s for sure.

All three of those states, and the cities within them, are leaders on civil and human rights. Massachusetts was famously the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. They all also offer statewide protections in housing and employment for LGBTQ communities, something Pennsylvania glaringly does not.

Take just one look at a map of the states that offer these protections and PA, once called the Keystone State, is instead living in the stone ages, being the only state from Maine to Maryland that does not have statewide employment and housing protections for LGBTQ folks. Will Governor Tom Wolf be able to twist the arms of Republicans to finally let the nondiscrimination bill out of committee in Harrisburg, and get the up or down vote that most agree would pass? Can he do it before making a bid for Amazon HQ2? Highly unlikely.

How about medicinal or recreational marijuana? Yes, yes and yes for all three states (plus Colorado), but a big fat no from Pennsylvania until very recently, when a limited medical marijuana bill was made law but is not yet in effect. In Seattle and Denver, medicinal has been around for years and recreational recently happened. California is right behind. Marijuana is another missed opportunity for Pennsylvania and our agriculture industry that could have had a first-to-market advantage on the East Coast. Highly-mobile, highly-skilled workforces want to be where they have forward-thinking recreational opportunities, whether that be swimming in the ocean or indulging in marijuana-infused chocolate.

Basic education has also had major funding issues throughout the Commonwealth, especially in Southeastern PA where funding formulas were slanted against them. That’s being addressed, finally, but “school choice” is drawing funds away from traditional public schools and creating a crisis for those who can’t afford the luxury of choice.

Worst of all — and probably the nail in the coffin of Philly’s bid — is the lack of cooperation between Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to put together a holistic bid for Amazon in Philadelphia. Instead, all three will go it alone, almost guaranteeing that none of them will even make it to a second round in the Amazon headquarters sweepstakes.

If Philadelphia is serious about landing this major employer of the future, we have got to cut the red tape and make some serious gestures now that reinforce the strengths of the region. But instead, we are set to put together separate offers that highlight the fractious nature of the tri-state region, relegating Philly once again to being promising-but-not-quite-ready for Amazon Prime time.

Center City at night.

Center City at night.

I had the somewhat-surprising honor of meeting Governor Wolf at Temple University last spring during Philly Tech Week 2017 when he dropped in on an AngularJS training.  It was a photo-op, but being a former software guy, the governor asked some insightful questions. I tried to hide behind my laptop, but Wolf put me on the spot and started asking me about the Philly tech industry. I mentioned I recently relocated from Silicon Valley, and he was very excited to know why. I said “family,” and he said he hoped there was more. As you can tell from this column, yes, there is a lot more. But I was not fast enough on my feet to pitch all of this to him at the time.

So here you go, Governor Wolf, a much longer explanation of why Philly could be a great tech hub on the East Coast.

My advice: If I were you, I would be knocking down the doors in Harrisburg to demand modernization of our state laws and government, and not taking no for an answer. Enough with the obstructionists. And I would be working the phone lines to Wilmington/Dover/Trenton/Camden to come up with a holistic bid from the Delaware Valley region.

Philly could be the new home Amazon never knew it always wanted, but unless the region works together and modernizes some of its laws that are holding it back, the city doesn’t stand a chance.

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Chris Beiter is a Seattle-based senior developer, program manager and test engineer with over 20 years of experience, at Microsoft, DocuSign and other companies. Born and raised in Williamsport, Pa., Beiter has a background in media and politics, having worked in the U.S. Senate and on numerous campaigns before making the switch to technology. The recent board member of Equality Pennsylvania continues to work for equal rights and government accountability.

Profile   /   @cbeiter   /   Send an email
  • teego1967

    I suppose that NJ, PA and DE can all hold hands and bend over together by the same amount. Maybe that looks better for Amazon?

    But I can’t shake the feeling that we’re just being used. How come no one is talking about the negative aspects of “winning”
    the bid? While I am sure that Amazon will give lip-service to all those nice human things Mt Beiter cited, their motivation is MONEY. Specifically money in the form of tax abatements and subsidies.

    Sure, there will be some increased tax revenue from employees that live in the city (whichever city it is). Many well-compensated employees however will just live out in the exburbs– did you think more than ZERO of them would send their kids to public schools in any major city?

    I am concerned that the benefits to hosting Amazon HQ-2 isn’t going to be worth what they will cost in real terms. If we want to stimulate tech hub growth, maybe Philly would do better to throw some bones to start-ups and small businesses rather than a behemoth mollock like Amazon?

    • Chris Beiter

      You are right the mark with your concerns! I offered to write a separate column about why Philly does NOT want Amazon to move there based on what I see and hear here in Seattle by peoples’ frustration with traffic, increased cost of living and highly-paid programmers buying up all the affordable housing. So yes, there are a lot of other civic and cultural reasons why Amazon would fundamentally change and maybe ruin the very things I love about Philly. But I’ll save that for if and when Philly moves beyond the first round of consideration for the new Amazon HQ.

  • Nadia Adam

    Excellent analysis Mr. Beiter! I do hope our city leaders get a chance to read this. I have an old classmate who relocated to Austin, TX and is finding the cost of living too high. That is another city experiencing a tech boom. Unfortunately, this boom has driven the cost of living way up. More than some native Austinites who are not “techies” can afford. Philly is relatively affordable for a city its size. This could change dramatically if Amazon comes. I also fear that the suburbs would actually continue to grow when tech workers decide to move for their children’s education, etc.
    I’m also curious as to how many Philly natives may have left for other tech hubs due to some of the city’s negatives? How many have decided to simply build their tech careers elsewhere?
    Again awesome post! Stay out of the rain Mr. Beiter! =)

  • Vinny

    They ain’t going to Philly because they know employees don’t want to travel through streets filled with trash and violent blacks.

    • Jabroni1

      Why are you even on this forum? The large majority of people here do not share your warped perspective.

      • Vinny

        If you’re going to be in denial about the massive amounts of black violence in Philly then have fun getting laced up. Plus Boston and NYC are the only 2 cities in the Northeast Amazon would even consider. I bet they go Denver , ATL or Austin.

  • Mr. ANGRY PANTS

    This article is idiotic. You’re saying that Amazon would not consider Philly because its politics don’t match the West Coast? Gimme a break. Amazon is a for profit business and will go with whichever city best fits it’s need. It will perform a thorough business analysis on each potential city and make a dollar and sense decision, not one of the heart. I do agree with one point, I very much doubt the Philadelphia leadership under Mayor Kenney was able to put together a compelling offer.

    • Chris Beiter

      Actually, it’s saying that PA is not even keeping up with other New England and Mid-Atlantic states, which is why PA cities have been at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting businesses and employees for the last couple decades. The slow walk on marriage equality in PA definitely had them at a disadvantage when competing with Boston, DC and NYC for tech jobs, and that legacy is still in place now with other civil rights where PA is simply behind the other east coast states, care for the environment and other quality of life factors. Amazon will go where they can recruit qualified employees to go, attractive, progressive places that take care of their environment, places like Denver, Boston or Chicago.

      • Jabroni1

        PA may be behind, however the Philadelphia metro is not in terms of social issues.

        • Chris Beiter

          It is true that Philly has passed it’s own ordinances that address some of the social issues mentioned in the column, however those rights evaporate when you drive your family up to the Poconos or to Hershey Park depending on which municipality you are in. For things like marijuana decriminalization, that Philly has done also for the most part, that may be well and good, but you still buy from an illegal grower and dealer instead of state-taxed, regulated and sold products that feed into the economy not a black market. Sadly, I think these ordinances are just a band aid that needs to be addressed at a state level in order see the consistency necessary to have a positive impact.

  • Super S

    17 year SF Bay Area tech employee here. I work remote for Silicon Valley companies in Philadelphia. 100% agree with the article. Factor in red tape for contacting work with business permits from L&I and the wage tax and you are looking nonsense that will keep Amazon away. As someone who has known people working at the mothership and satellites, I do hope Amazon passes Philly by. It would be fantastic for the $100k+ salaries, but for the non-tech jobs, it will widen the gap for a living wage in a city already struggling to deal with poverty. I can already see Philly adopting the Portland approach of “go back to California” lawn signs.

    • T4Timbuktu

      Philly likes them poor. They aren’t struggling to deal with it. Theve had 50 years of being an he poorest big city in America.

      They can do wonders in a City with a half a million poor people that vote 95% Democrat generation after generation to voice their approval.

      The signs to stop gentrification are a given. It’s always been a big issue.

      • Jabroni1

        People love to talk about the poverty in Philadelphia, and they also love to do it with the caveat of “big city” so it can fit their narrative.

        This is all relative, yes there are major poverty issues in Philadelphia that can not be ignored. However, Philadelphia is not the poorest City by a long shot. There are many large cities with greater poverty rates including Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland.

        Within the 25 largest cities in the country virtually all the major players have a poverty within 5 percent of Philadelphia. What gets really interesting is when you compare metropolitan areas, considering it’s not merely the Central City vying for the jobs, it’s drawing from the metropolitan area. In that metric Philadelphia is not even close to the highest poverty rate, in fact it has a lower poverty rate than Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, and Washington metropolitan areas.

        The other point I would like to make is just how absurd it is to think that these potential jobs would be bad for the area because it has a high poverty rate therefore creating greater disparities. Would you rather these vital jobs stay in the white and already thriving metros of Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Boston etc? These jobs would have a much greater impact on a metro area like Philadelphia than the aforementioned cities which are already thriving.

        • T4Timbuktu

          Census: Philly remains the poorest major US city

          • Philly Phil

            Detroit is worse. But, honestly those stats neglect a few facts. In other metro areas, the cities have many towns or even satellite cities where their poor live. Yes, Philly has Camden, Chester and Norristown; but most of Philly’s poor live in the city proper. Some other major metropolitan areas have a lot small and/or a big, poor satalite city.

            New York Metro has Newark, NJ, and some other poor cities and towns
            Washington Metro has Baltimore and District Heights, MD
            Boston has many poor towns just outside the city limits.

            So you need to look at the entire metro as a whole, not just the central city.

            However, with all this said – I believe Philly has three issues that prevent it from being great:
            1) the wage tax
            2) the indifference of the suburbs to city & metropolitan success and growth.
            3) Delaware’s refusal to be an active part of the metropolitan area.

            Regarding Delaware, just look how it markets itself. It directly completes with Philadelphia and rarely uses the proximity to Philadelphia as an asset unless it’s in a competitive way against PHILLY.

            Just look at how SEPTA Regional Rail is advertised in Delaware and what DE pays SEPTA for. It’s not about allowing Delaware residents the opportunity to work in Philly or about Delaware being a living alternative for Philadelphians – it’s all about being able to stay off i95 when communiting to Wilmington. It’s about living in PA and working in DE. That’s how they market SEPTA in DE.

          • Super S

            Wage tax. I mention the disparity in wages and poverty in passing. The way that San Francisco deals with it is to not deal with it to an extent. Pushing the poor people out. In the Bay Area affordable housing is 60+ miles away. The tech boom in SF sucked the soul out of the city. And the public schools are some of the worst in California.

          • Jabroni1

            One thing people need to realize about the wage tax. It indeed sucks, but it sucks for us. Corporations don’t give a shit because it doesn’t affect them. Business privilege? Now you are talking. Fortunately a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which both the Navy Yard and Schuykill Yards are, removes the vast majority of all taxes from corporations.

          • Jabroni1

            Census: Here are the 20 cities with the lowest median household income.
            Reading, Pa., $25,865;
            Flint, Mich., $25,896;
            Camden, N.J., $26,783;
            Youngstown, Ohio, $26,789;
            Cleveland, Ohio, $27,551;
            Detroit, Mich., $28,099;
            Dayton, Ohio, $28,894;
            Gary, Ind., $29,522;
            Hialeah, Fla., $30,495;
            Newark, N.J., $31,100;
            Daytona Beach, Fla., $31,273;
            Trenton, N.J., $31,592;
            Rochester, N.Y., $31,693;
            Canton, Ohio, $31,714;
            Homestead, Fla., $32,001;
            Bloomington, Ind., $32,136;
            Muncie, Ind., $32,500;
            Buffalo, N.Y., $32,883;
            Gainesville, $32,968;
            Springfield, Mo., $33,286.

            When comparing metros it has a much lower poverty rate. I see you ignored all of my statistics.

          • T4Timbuktu

            I’m not quite sure what point you’re trying to make.

          • Jabroni1

            Simply that that statistic you provided is misleading, and offers no compelling evidence handicapping Philadelphia in attracting Amazon.

  • T4Timbuktu

    Doing Business in Philadelphia is like watching a Spranos rerun. Businesses are an ATM to the Machine Pols. Everybody gets a cut.

    On the other side of the ledger it’s a cool city to live in.

    • Jabroni1

      I think you vastly underestimate the corruption of most of the major east coast and Midwestern cities. Philly is merely par for the course.

      • T4Timbuktu

        Well I didn’t think that will have any impact on Amazons decision to build its second Headquarters in philly..

  • Chris: Thank you for your honesty and hope. Great piece of writing. Having moved back to center city (with my wife and two kids – now in college) after 21 years in South Jersey, I’m still wide-eyed at Philly’s tremendous comeback since I last left. It has been five years. While the Philly wage tax, public schools, and 10-year tax abatement may leave a lot to be desired, I remain hopeful that there will be some relief with one or more of these in the coming years as UCity, Schuylkill Yards, and Callowhill plug in. Though real estate and the general cost of living has increased, Philly is still a bargain compared to NY, DC, and MA. Comcast seems to be doing okay navigating Philly’s “world-renowned” bureaucratic red tape and is a perfect example of what is possible for Amazon and other global players. The largest chunk of Amazon fulfillment centers on the east coast happens to be in PA. Significant? Maybe. The positives seem to outweigh the negatives. I think Philly stands a chance. Again, thanks.

    • Chris Beiter

      Thanks Anthony, Philly is pretty amazing these days, and I do think they stand a decent chance of making it past the first round of consideration. I can only hope this exercise of trying to lure Amazon to Philly can help the city, county, and state identify and address their weaknesses. Maybe it won’t be Amazon, but maybe it will be that next big thing, or something home grown from one of the incubators in West Philly? Almost all of the ingredients for success are there.

  • Yury Korzun

    It’s interesting how Philly could appear as a completely different city to different people. Some people see only the downsides, such is litter on the streets, crime, taxes and public schools. Others see the potential and how much this city has to offer.

    • Chris Beiter

      Yes yes and yes! That’s part of why I wanted to write this. Like I said above, Philly is the city I never knew I always wanted to live in. I heard the Philthadephia and Killadelphia nicknames, and it didn’t paint a great picture. So I was prepared for the worst. But within hours of moving in a couple years ago, I was already chatting with the neighbors and finding those amazing little hole in the wall eateries, seeing cool art everywhere, meeting Broadway-class musicians slumming it in a local piano bar, etc. Philly has a LOT of magic, if your are open to it.

      • Yury Korzun

        It also depends if a person can find a good paying job in the city and afford to rent a place in safer neighborhoods. It could be completely different experiences based on the income.

        • Chris Beiter

          Yes, quite true also. Great point, Philly is a patchwork of neighborhoods, some safer or less so than others, and that will undoubtedly taint peoples’ perspectives. But I can also say that during my time in San Francisco and Seattle, there have been many times where I have felt less safe in these cities than I ever did in Philly, and found the streets of Philly cleaner from human waste and other refuse than say the SOMA or Tenderloin neighborhoods in San Francisco or even in popular neighborhoods like Capitol Hill in Seattle. Do Philadelphians just beat themselves up more about it or is the problem actually bigger in Philly?

          • Randy Zeitman

            (Yep… I was very very surprised how dirty San Francisco was.)

      • Randy Zeitman

        Philly is really an incredible melange … if … you are open to it … and have the means to afford it … and want to live in a city. Not everyone would like Green Street and even if you work at Amazon you might not want to rent on lower Spruce.

  • Jabroni1

    Chris what do you think about this:

    The metro area should let everywhere make their own proposal to Amazon but submit it as a package for options in the region.

    • Chris Beiter

      There are a couple different competitions that I have heard of that are requesting Philly people (mostly affiliated with the schools) to write their own proposals. Crowd sourcing a proposal is a great idea, but we don’t have much time left before the HQ2 deadline.

      • Jabroni1

        I was thinking more along the lines that Camden, Wilmington, and Philadelphia are submitting proposals. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent this, however Jim Kenney could break a deal with Wilmington and Camden that they submit the proposal as one. By doing this the proposal would essentially be one albeit with several options, not much different than say the city of Philadelphia alone proposing two or three different locations within the city.

        • Chris Beiter

          Oh, I gotcha. I would LOVE to see Mayor Kenney work with Wilmington and Camden and have some sort of cooperative option they could put forward. For example, New Jersey is talking of incentives in the capitol “B” Billions of dollars for Amazon. But what if Camden or other Jersey cities are not making the cut, and a portion of those incentives could be directed towards a Philly proposal instead? That would turn the tri-state region disadvantage into a big advantage, one might think.

          • Philly Phil

            As someone who grew up in Delaware, I can tell you Wilmington will never do it because both Wilmington & Delaware do not like being considered a suburb of Philadelphia. They view themselves as independent and Wilmington as its own independent city. This attitude goes all the way back to the reason Delaware signed the Constitution first.

          • Chris Beiter

            So, let’s game this out… what if Philly does make it past the first round, but Wilmington and the Jersey Cities do not? Will that spur Delaware and NJ to jump on board a Philly bid in some way? Even if only symbolic, I think it can have an effect.

          • Jabroni1

            It should, because regional growth is good for all. Camden probably, Wilmington who knows. Wilmington historically has had a outsized impressive corporate presence but has recently gone through a rough patch. They need to start realizing that.

    • Randy Zeitman

      Amazon says, very clearly, “metropolitan area”. So … Philadelphia would be against Amazon being in King of Prussia?

      Cities are extending tax breaks to Amazon … ok, will Amazon be extending real estate tax help if they locate in Princeton?

  • Chuck Fitton

    Beautifully written! With your self-deprecating wit I would swear that you were born in Philly. While the city, at least to me, has so many things going for it, it can’t hurt to tug at the heartstrings as well. With a nagging poverty rate near 40% just imagine the tranformative impact Amazon’s headquarters would have in Philly. I immediately thought of a partnership with Philadelphia community college that would directly train workers for entry level positions needed by Amazon. It would be a true win for the city on many levels.

  • Randy Zeitman

    Question: If you gave a survey to the entire populations of metropolitan areas of more than one million and asked ‘If you had to move to one of these cities which would it be’ … where do you think Philly would fall on that list?

    Here they are:
    1 New York–Newark, NY—NJ—CT 18,351,295
    2 Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, CA 12,150,996
    3 Chicago, IL—IN—WI 8,608,208
    4 Miami, FL 5,502,379
    5 Philadelphia, PA—NJ—DE—MD 5,441,567
    6 Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX 5,121,892
    7 Houston, TX 4,944,332
    8 Washington, DC—VA—MD 4,586,770
    9 Atlanta, GA 4,515,419
    10 Boston, MA—NH—RI 4,181,019
    11 Detroit, MI 3,734,090
    12 Phoenix–Mesa, AZ 3,629,114
    13 San Francisco–Oakland, CA 3,281,212
    14 Seattle, WA 3,059,393
    15 San Diego, CA 2,956,746
    16 Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN—WI 2,650,890
    17 Tampa–St. Petersburg, FL 2,441,770
    18 Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO 2,374,203
    19 Baltimore, MD 2,203,663
    20 St. Louis, MO—IL 2,150,706
    21 San Juan, PR 2,148,346
    22 Riverside–San Bernardino, CA 1,932,666
    23 Las Vegas–Henderson, NV 1,886,011
    24 Portland, OR—WA 1,849,898
    25 Cleveland, OH 1,780,673
    26 San Antonio, TX 1,758,210
    27 Pittsburgh, PA 1,733,853
    28 Sacramento, CA 1,723,634
    29 San Jose, CA 1,664,496
    30 Cincinnati, OH—KY—IN 1,624,827
    31 Kansas City, MO—KS 1,519,417
    32 Orlando, FL 1,510,516
    33 Indianapolis, IN 1,487,483
    34 Virginia Beach, VA 1,439,666
    35 Milwaukee, WI 1,376,476
    36 Columbus, OH 1,368,035
    37 Austin, TX 1,362,416
    38 Charlotte, NC—SC 1,249,442
    39 Providence, RI—MA 1,190,956
    40 Jacksonville, FL 1,065,219
    41 Memphis, TN—MS—AR 1,060,061
    42 Salt Lake City–West Valley City, UT 1,021,243
    43 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY—IN 972,546
    44 Nashville-Davidson, TN 969,587
    45 Richmond, VA 953,556
    46 Buffalo, NY 935,906
    47 Hartford, CT 924,859
    48 Bridgeport–Stamford, CT—NY 923,311
    49 New Orleans, LA 899,703
    50 Raleigh, NC 884,891
    51 Oklahoma City, OK 861,505
    52 Tucson, AZ 843,168
    53 El Paso, TX—NM 803,086
    54 Urban Honolulu, HI 802,459

    Anyone here not say Honolulu or San Diego?

    … San Diego is prime Amazon territory. That is the area to attract major talent and Amazon has very clearly stated they have no problem with accommodating any standard of living costs.

    Question: Does UPenn, IBX and Comcast want Amazon here? … my gosh no. I would be astounded if more than 10-15% of college grads stayed in Philly.

    Question: Does Amazon love unions? … heheh … please…..

    Question: On a scale of 1/10 … how happy are Philadelphian’s? … not …. why? …

    https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-places-to-live/32619/

    Check out WalletHub’s top 10 cities on the list below or see the full report here.

    1. Fremont, California
    2. San Jose, California
    3. Irvine, California
    4. San Francisco, California
    5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    6. Huntington Beach, California
    7. San Diego, California
    8. Oakland, California
    9. Santa Rosa, California
    10. Washington, D.C.

    … 8 out of 10 are California … despite their absurd cost of living …

    Think about that … the climate matters.

    See #7? … San Diego, California

    Show me anyone who might ever want to work for Amazon and doesn’t live in San Diego who wouldn’t be beaming if Amazon chose San Diego.

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