ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Pittsburgh hires Maya Design to create 'robust' bid for Amazon HQ2

Bob Bauder
| Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, 3:09 p.m.
In this April 27, 2017 file photo, construction continues on three large, glass-covered domes as part of an expansion of the Amazon.com campus in downtown Seattle. Amazon said Thursday, Sept. 7, that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees.
In this April 27, 2017 file photo, construction continues on three large, glass-covered domes as part of an expansion of the Amazon.com campus in downtown Seattle. Amazon said Thursday, Sept. 7, that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees.

Pittsburgh is amping up efforts to persuade online retail giant Amazon to build its second headquarters here.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's board of directors on Thursday voted unanimously to hire Pittsburgh-based Maya Design, a subsidiary of The Boston Consulting Group Inc. of Boston, to help prepare a “very robust” proposal for Amazon

The company would be paid a maximum of $248,000. The URA's share of that would be $50,000. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and foundations have pledged to kick in the rest, said Kevin Acklin, URA board chair and chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

“The cost is steep, we know that,” said URA Executive Director Robert Rubinstein. “Pittsburgh has many competitive advantages. We really want to take a good run at it.”

Last week, Amazon announced it was looking for a second home that would be the equal of its headquarters in Seattle. The revelation prompted mayors and development officials from major cities nationwide to start organizing proposals, which would undoutedly include tax subsidies to entice Amazon to invest $5 billion in construction and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Acklin said Boston Consulting recently acquired Pittsburgh-based Maya Design, which last year prepared the city's application for a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign the city's transportation system. That grant went to Columbus, Ohio.

“Their total proposed contract is $248,000,” Acklin said. “That would carry us through the engagement, production of materials, meetings with the community telling the story and producing the actual proposal.”

He said the Mayor's Office has been meeting over the last week with officials from around the region and developers to locate potential sites including the Almono development in Hazelwood, the former Civic Arena property in the Lower Hill District and space along the rivers.

Officials have also asked municipalities from a 10-county region around Pittsburgh to submit their best property candidates for consideration. While Amazon is looking for an urban location, Acklin said, property around the Pittsburgh International Airport could serve as an ancillary site.

Acklin said developers who own the properties would be asked for concessions.

“We think Amazon knows about us,” he said, adding that some company executives have attended Pittsburgh universities. “They know about the universities, our relatively low cost of living, the competitive advantages we have being in Pittsburgh. We're going to compete hard for this.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me