Startups

Philly makes Amazon HQ2 shortlist

Philly is one of 20 North American cities in the running for the $5 billion dollar development. Amazon expects to make its final decision this year.

Center City Philadelphia.

(Photo courtesy of C. Smyth/Visit Philly)

Update: This story has been updated to include comment from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. (1/18/18, 10:43 a.m.)
The Amazon shortlist is in and Philly made the cut.

Out of 238 cities trying to woo Amazon for a shot at hosting its second headquarters, Philadelphia landed a spot alongside 19 other metro areas like Washington D.C., New York City, Boston and Los Angeles.

Seattle-based Amazon sounded the horns last September, asking cities to pitch themselves as worthy hosts of a sprawling second headquarters that would mirror the ecommerce giant’s West Coast hub. The project, with a sticker price of $5 billion, is expected to bring 50,000 jobs to the chosen city.

“All the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,”said Holly Sullivan, head of Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Mayor Jim Kenney, who last October said Philly was going to win the bid process, released a statement Thursday on Philly making the shortlist.

“Philadelphia’s inclusion in Amazon’s Top 20 potential locations for HQ2 is an exciting milestone for the city,” Kenney said. “We are thrilled at today’s announcement, and look forward to working with Amazon’s team on the next steps of this process to further highlight all that Philadelphia has to offer.”

Per Mogulette’s Brigitte Daniel, who worked alongside a coalition of Philly business leaders to compile the pitch, the news that Philly was tapped for the shortlist is an “amazing opportunity.”

“The fact that we’re considered for the second run means we have what it takes to offer a company like Amazon a holistic destination.”

Under the banner of #PhillyDelivers, the proposal drafted Philadelphia ambassadors like Sixers center Joel Embiid, Curalate CEO Apu Gupta and investor Josh Kopelman. It highlighted Philly’s strengths in site options, diversity and quality of life.

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The next move from Amazon will be to make deeper dives on each city’s proposal, likely requesting additional information and performing feasibility studies. Daniel said this process will allow Philly to again highlight its assets in culture, diversity and tech.

“We should come together again as city and put forth the best of these examples,” said Daniel.

Site selection consultant John Boyd, who’s advised companies like Boeing, AT&T and PNC Bank in their own selection process, said there were not many surprises in the list, and believes Amazon will end up going with a city on the East Coast to improve its stance when it comes to recruiting.

“I’ve always felt great about Philadelphia as a choice,” Boyd told Technical.ly. “This reaffirms what we’ve always said about Philly: a strong labor market, real estate portfolio and infrastructure.”

Amazon expects to make a final decision this year.

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