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Pittsburgh's bid for Amazon HQ2 is submitted; now the wait

| Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 8:57 a.m.

Pittsburgh wants a shot at the second headquarters sweepstakes.

It has been six weeks since Amazon announced it was looking for a spot to build a second headquarters and bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment along with it. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development had officially submitted the region's bid as of Thursday.

Titled "Future. Forged. For All," the proposal is accompanied by a website, HQPittsburgh.com , touting the region's talent, technology and quality of life; and a video segment extolling the city's past, reinvention and ambition (the Pittsburgh Parking Chair earned a shout-out, too).

Officials will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. in the Mayor's Office to discuss the bid.

Formed to coordinate the creation of Pittsburgh's bid, the PGHQ2 partnership will remain active as the "Amazon welcome committee and dedicated partner ensuring a soft landing and support for Amazon's long-term success should the Pittsburgh region be selected," according to the announcement of the bid's completion Thursday. Members of the public are encouraged to use social media to share why Pittsburgh is their personal "headquarters" with the hashtag "#OURPGHQ2." People can send questions or submit testimonials about their businesses, foundations and community organizations by emailing AmazonPGH@pittsburghpa.gov.

Cities large and small across the country expressed interest in vying for the project. Pittsburgh made several short lists that included Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Denver.

"I feel like I'm in college with a term paper that is due and everyone knows about it," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Wednesday during remarks at a press conference announcing Allegheny Health Network's planned $700 million expansion.

We likely won't get a peek at the bid. Amazon required bids to be sent "marked 'confidential'" or through password-protected websites, according to the company's request for proposals .

Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto assembled a team including city and county officials and representatives from the region's foundations, nonprofits, community organizations, businesses and universities. Peduto has said preparing the bid could cost as much as $500,000. How much was spent is not fully known.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority committed up to $50,000 to one consultant hired to work on the bid. The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County authorized up to $100,000 for contractors and consultants on the bid. The county also spent nearly $1,500 to send Fitzgerald to Seattle for two days.

The team retained Maya Design, Gatesman Agency and HR&A Advisors to work on the bid. Maya Design, a Downtown design consultant, could receive up to $248,000 for its work. What Gatesman Agency, a marketing, social media and PR firm, and HR&A Advisors, a real estate, economic development and public policy consultant, could be paid is not yet known.

What is known is scant. Fitzgerald spent two days in Seattle but won't say who he talked with. Peduto said he and Fitzgerald talked to an Amazon executive who will likely review all the proposals but was cagey about what was said.

Twenty property owners and developers in Allegheny, Fayette and Washington counties sent the team potential sites for Amazon, but the team would not say who or where.

The best glimpse at the direction the team is taking the bid is in its call to developers and property owners for potential sites . The team said it would, "place a preference on sites that catalyze investments in adjacent underserved neighborhoods, and provide for investments in our people, so that all residents of greater Pittsburgh can share with Amazon in this potential opportunity for substantial economic growth."

Amazon wants to put its second headquarters in a metro area of 1 million people or more. An ideal location would be within 30 miles of the population center, 45 minutes of an international airport, near major roads and highways and have access to public transit, according to the company's request for proposals. Amazon will need about 500,000 square feet to start and could use up to 8 million square feet as the company expands.

Amazon has asked that suitors provide information on potential buildings or sites, details on incentives on the table, labor and wage information, sources of software development engineers, lists of colleges and universities in the area offering relevant degrees and the number of people graduating with those degrees, information about computer science education in elementary, middle and high schools, commuting and travel details for potential sites including bike lanes, rush hour statistics and information on recreation and housing in the area.

Amazon expects to announce the location of its second headquarters next year.

Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed.

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