Amazon named the city of Philadelphia as one of the 20 finalists left in the quest for the perfect location to host the tech company's second headquarters.
Within Philadelphia, two of the three proposed locations to construct the HQ2 are in University City and West Philadelphia, just a couple blocks from campus at uCity Square and Schuylkill Yards. The third proposed location is at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.
“We keep telling everybody that West is the best,” councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said. Blackwell represents District 3 of Philadelphia, which includes Penn and the surrounding West Philadelphia area.
“We love our city, and we are super excited about the prospect of getting this investment,” she continued. “We would love to have those jobs — that will make such a great difference to people in [West Phila.].”
Penn has been at the forefront of the support for Philadelphia’s application. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Penn President Amy Gutmann cited the creativity from Philadelphia’s universities as a major bonus for the tech company. Gutmann also co-signed a letter with the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, urging Amazon to consider the east coast city as a top contender.
Wharton students had the opportunity last semester to participate in the Wharton-Amazon Writing Competition, which asked participants to submit memos for the city government that outlined why Amazon should select Philadelphia for the sister branch of its current Seattle headquarters.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a public statement responding to Amazon's latest list of potential cities, stating that Philadelphia will “look forward to working with Amazon’s team on the next steps of this process to further highlight all that Philadelphia has to offer.”
The Office of the Mayor worked in conjunction with other branches of city and statewide government and several private organizations to promote the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania application for HQ2. Pittsburgh was the only other Pennsylvania city to make the cut from the original 238.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development supports business ventures throughout Pennsylvania and has been supportive of the Amazon HQ2 projects in Philadelphia and other major cities.
Michael Gerber, spokesperson for the DCED, said the department, as well as Gov. Tom Wolf, are excited about the prospect of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh becoming the site for HQ2.
“Amazon recognized that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both offer a prime location, abundant natural resources, job-ready workforces, and an unparalleled quality of life that would enable a company like Amazon to thrive,” Gerber said.
The project is expected to bring more than 50,000 jobs to the chosen location, according to the statement released by Amazon. Amazon also plans to invest $5 billion into the community it selects.
Pennsylvania officials are offering more than $1 billion in tax breaks to Amazon if the headquarters end up in either city.
“The Wolf Administration will continue to actively support Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as Amazon narrows down its shortlist in the weeks and months ahead, and eagerly awaits Amazon’s final decision,” Gerber concluded.