Amazon has outgrown Seattle, and the behemoth is on a newfound quest to find a home for its second North American headquarters. The new HQ, what’s been dubbed HQ2, would employ a whopping 50,000 and would cost a pretty penny to build and operate—$5 billion to be exact.
So naturally, such an announcement has already set off a wild race among our nation’s big cities (side eye to Pittsburgh) as Amazon is soliciting bids for the development and says its giving priority to locales with more than 1 million people. Philadelphia’s very own mayor, Jim Kenney, jumped into the fray on Twitter to express excitement at the idea that the City of Brotherly Love has a real chance to house one of the world’s most valuable companies.
We think Philadelphia would be a PRIME location for Amazon that would make people SMILE! Look forward to submitting a proposal! https://t.co/l60Wn5BVdg
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) September 7, 2017
The Philly tech and business community is already standing strong with Mayor Kenney on this one. I put a call out to the business community: Why would Philly be the best place for Amazon’s HQ2? Answers came pouring in within minutes.
So, Dear Amazon, here’s a shameless list of why you should absolutely come to Philadelphia:
Location location location. When you consider delivery services, we are perfectly situated along the northeast corridor with one of the densest downtowns, second to NYC. Philly is 5 hours from San Francisco, 5 hours from Europe. Our international airport is close to downtown. And space. There is so much space in the northeast, and there’s a regional airport up there too. More resources for package delivery. And lastly, drones! Amazon leverages drone technology. We have people working with robotics and AI technology at Penn and Drexel. The startup Cosy comes to mind. It could help Amazon with inventory management needs. Amazon wouldn’t have to look far for high-tech solutions for their new HQ in Philly.
–Archna Sahay, formerly the City of Philadelphia’s Director of Entrepreneurship
Greater Philadelphia checks all the boxes on Amazon’s wish list. We’re a community that thinks big, supports each other, collaborates regularly, basks in authenticity, and is always looking to welcome new residents, companies and partners.
–Steve Tang, president and CEO, Science Center
There are two Whole Foods near Center City. Jeff Bezos can have lunch with Brian Roberts at the new Four Seasons restaurant. They can bring the Washington Post in on the Acela. PHL has direct service to Seattle.
With 102 colleges and universities, our region offers a diverse pool of highly-skilled experienced experts and young professionals. More than 35 percent of our residents hold bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with the national average of 29 percent. Amazon will be able to recruit smart, innovative leaders and team members to help drive continued success. And with the fastest millennial growth rate of any of the nation’s 30 largest cities, Philadelphia has seen an influx of young people largely driven by our colleges & universities combined with a draw to the City proper due to its vibrancy, affordability, job opportunities, walkability, diversity, culture, and nightlife.
There is something special about our business community that inspires a coming together rarely seen in other regions. We work together not because we have to, but because we want to, knowing this spirit of collaboration will produce results that benefit all. It’s a spirit that aligns well with the Amazon way of thinking and working, and that will allow you and your team to continue to thrive. Greater Philadelphia is home to more than 25 Fortune 500 companies, and boasts a gross regional product of $420 billion, which positions us in the top 3 among all metropolitan areas across the Northeast United States. We want Amazon to be part of this vibrancy.
-Matt Cabrey, executive director, Select Greater Philadelphia Council
Philly offers a diverse and diversely experienced community of talent, leaders, and organizations that can drive entrepreneurial growth like no other.
–RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, CEO, Ben Franklin Tech Partners
Amazon is famously cost conscious, and Philadelphia real estate is more reasonably priced than comparable cities. Philadelphia is also the perfect testing bed for adding unlimited cheesesteak delivery to Prime, and The Rocky Statue is a great place to park drones. In the early days of Amazon, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase. You could recreate the magic of those early days and connect that auto-ringer to the Liberty Bell.
–Jake Stein, CEO, Stitch Data
Philly has a good ecosystem of diverse talent and has a number of great colleges and seasoned millennials who are looking for new and challenging opportunities like working at Amazon.
–Tiffanie Stanard, CEO, Stimulus
Come to Philadelphia so Curalate can poach your engineering talent, saving thousands in relocation costs for ex-Amazon employees!
–Luke Butler, Strategy & Operations, Curalate
One of the biggest benefits to Amazon would be Philadelphia’s diverse community. And I mean diversity on different levels—socioeconomic, gender, race, and more. And Philly doesn’t have a reliance on one specific industry. This would be a benefit to Amazon because they are diversifying. They cover media, original programming and so much more. They’ve got their hands in a lot of different things. So culturally, there’s a match. Amazon’s RFP also said they’re looking for a stable economy. We are very stable and because of our diversity and location in the middle of the mid-Atlantic.
–Dean Miller, president and CEO, PACT
Philly is one of best regions in the U.S. and Amazon is one of the best companies in the U.S. So, they should be here with us. Let’s make it happen!
–Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner, SeventySix Capital
Cost of living is far lower than New York and Silicon Valley. Philadelphia also has the most growth in its housing department of any city except Austin.
–Mark Platt, Backend Department Lead, WebLinc
My best reason for Amazon to setup in Philly is because Philadelphia provides Amazon with the opportunity to create a considerable number of new job opportunities in a city that has one highest concentration of underserved minority groups in the country. Amazon can benefit themselves by leveraging our large talent pool and will be able make a substantial economic impact by being here. This benefits their brand reputation and their bottom line.
–Chuck Sacco, Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship; director, Laurence A Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship at Drexel
The Navy Yard would be the perfect place for Amazon. Plus, Philly has incredible universities pumping out great talent and entrepreneurs growing businesses that can integrate into the technology Amazon has already built.
–Yuval Yarden, executive director, Philly Startup Leaders
Philly has stability of talent and a supportive and enthusiastic tech community.
–David Bookspan, founder and executive chairman, Amino Payments
Philly offers attractive lifestyle possibilities for Amazon employees beyond the job itself. There’s a great balance between affordability and quality of life. You have the culture, arts, restaurants, walkability, outdoor recreation and public and green spaces of a word class city. But the cost of living is so much more manageable than cities with comparable amenities.
–Danielle Pinto, Director of Events, PACT
Amazon’s asking for details about “last-mile” issues like bike and pedestrian access at a time when Philly is expanding its bike-share program and building protected bike lanes. We’re perfectly located in the northeast corridor which is the most populous region of the nation. Within 100 square miles of Philly happens to be the most economically and politically powerful corridor in the world. Lastly, Little Giant would be happy to assist Jeff Bezos with maneuvering the local quirks and building relationships with regional stakeholders.
Tayyib Smith, co-founder, Little Giant Creative
Given Amazon’s preference for a city with over 1,000,000 people, Philadelphia would provide them with a perfectly located East Coast hub where they have access to a rapidly growing millennial talent pool. We’re also much more affordable than other nearby east coast cities with similar population sizes.
–Lauren Cox, Manager of Communications & Press Relations, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce |
Hey, we started the greatest country on earth here and Amazon could take over the world from here as well.
–John Grady, president, PIDC
Their employees will love living in and around this city. Seriously. It’s clear that tech companies can grow and thrive outside of major tech hubs, so to me the question is, “where we can choose a location that our employees to love to live and work in?”
Bonus reason: there is a massive talent pool graduating from all of our universities every year, and more and more of those graduates would rather stay in Philadelphia than leave, IF they can find the right career opportunity.
–Rick Nucci, CEO, Guru
Amazon would be smart to locate here. First you have the Universities who are producing amazing and innovative technology ideas, both among faculty and students, who would be eager collaborators or for new graduates, new employees to fuel the expansion. And you have an amazing group of innovative, emerging technology companies that could be great partners. We are less ‘picked’ over than other markets such as San Francisco and Boston. Second you have an affordable, authentic and amazing city with many eager partners from both the public and private sectors to help make a new HQ a success. Third, you have the opportunity to put an exclamation point on Philadelphia as an emerging center for innovation. Fourth, you could take advantage of Philadelphia’s huge medical assets to explore new market opportunities. Finally, Center City is 15 minutes from a world-class airport putting you close to Europe and other key markets. Also we are in the center of the Northeast Corridor so Amazon could easily attract employees and they can actually get here.
–Laurie Actman, Chief Marketing, Communications & Program Officer, Penn Center for Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania
While Philly’s tech scene may have a lower profile than some our east coast neighbors, Amazon wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Dozens of organizations, including Philly Startup Leaders, Philly New Tech Meetup, Technical.ly, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, PACT, and a supportive city government have helped cultivate a large, active tech community in Philly. This means Amazon would have a head start with important things like community outreach, recruiting channels, government relations, and more.
–Bob Moore, Head of Magento Analytics
42 million people pick this region every year (to visit). They probably order a lot online, too. For every crane in the sky, James Beard winner and priceless art collection, Philly has a dozen funky neighborhoods, inspired chefs and artists dabbling on their next great creation. This city inspired Ben Franklin to harness electricity, Rocky to go the distance and Marian Anderson to sing out with courage. Imagine what it could do for Jeff Bezos. Philadelphia impresses people—and for good reasons. People can’t stop talking about our arts, food, neighborhoods and all-around greatness. And since being the first U.S. capital, we’ve kept up our trendsetting, first-to-do-it style.
–Cara Schneider, Media Relations, Visit Philadelphia
To close out this massive pitch deck, let’s end with the words of Councilman Allan Domb, who says he’s ready to get to work: “This needs to be an effort by the whole community. We need to understand that there might be a cost with bringing Amazon here, but the benefits for Philadelphia outweigh the costs. This is big picture, a possible game-changer for the city. And Philadelphia is positioned in exactly the right place.”
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