Pittsburgh region to consider 20 sites for Amazon headquarters bid
A team putting together the region's bid for Amazon's second headquarters received interest from 20 property owners and developers who think their sites would be a perfect fit for the online retail giant.
“This is a tremendous response and confirms just how serious Pittsburgh is about landing this headquarters,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement.
Amazon said three weeks ago that it plans to invest $5 billion in a second headquarters that would create at least 50,000 new jobs in the city it chooses. Soon after, local leaders announced the creation of Amazon HQ2 Team Pittsburgh, or HQ2PGH for short, to do the region's bidding.
The regional partnership did not identify the 20 property owners who proposed their sites by Thursday's deadline, citing “competitive reasons,” but said they came from Allegheny, Fayette and Washington counties.
“I'm sure the other regions competing against us would love to know all the properties we have in our arsenal, and we're not going to give them that advantage,” said Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto's Chief Development Officer.
Several high-profile development sites in Pittsburgh have been mentioned as leading contenders, including the former Civic Arena site on 28 acres in the Lower Hill District and the former LTV Steel Co. site on 178 acres in Hazelwood, also known as the Almono site.
But Amazon isn't necessarily looking to put its second headquarters in the heart of a metropolitan area. Requirements outlined by Amazon specify only that the site must be within 30 miles of a population center, 45 minutes from an airport, near major highways or roads and have access to mass transit.
To the west of Pittsburgh, property around Pittsburgh International Airport is expected to be considered because of the easy access to air service, interstate highways and mass transit. Airport officials declined to comment.
Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko wasn't as tight-lipped.
“We're hoping to get a slice of the pie,” Erosenko said.
Erosenko believes the Monroeville site that used to be home to the world headquarters of Westinghouse Electric Co. has everything Amazon needs and more. The property at 4350 Northern Pike is 138 acres, has 503,000 square feet of office space and 2,100 parking spaces, according to a real estate listing.
In its heyday, Westinghouse had two office complexes in Monroeville and employed about 3,000 people there, said Monroeville Historical Society President Rob Elms. He worked in the electronics industry for 44 years, including 26 years with Westinghouse. The company moved out of Monroeville in 2010, leaving a gaping hole in the municipality's economy.
“There's a lot of space to expand. That place can accommodate. We've had Fortune 500 companies in Monroeville before and we can do it again,” Monroeville Manager Tim Little said.
State Sen. Jim Brewster, D-McKeesport, highlighted several other possible sites in his district in a letter to the HQ2PGH team, including the Regional Industrial Development Corp.'s Keystone Commons in East Pittsburgh, City Center of Duquesne, the Industrial Center of McKeesport and properties in Clairton, Braddock, Plum and the New Kensington area.
“There are plenty of locations in southwestern Pennsylvania that are excellent sites and I am certain that the region's application will be inclusive and strong. … We want to showcase as many as we can,” Brewster said in a statement.
Joyce said Schreiber Industrial Park in New Kensington and Arnold includes many industrial buildings along the Allegheny River and is close to Route 28 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“City officials out there have been looking to market that site for a number of years,” Joyce said.
The regional partnership will spend the next three weeks evaluating the properties and decide which one will help the region make the strongest bid. Proposals are due to Amazon by Oct. 19.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.