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It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

Instead of one city, the giant retailer is splitting its second headquarters between northern Virginia and New York City.

photo: Shutterstock

It was 10 months ago Pittsburgh learned it was among 20 cities in the running for Amazon's second headquarters. At stake was a $5 billion investment and as many as 50,000 new jobs. The company confirmed Tuesday that Pittsburgh, and 17 other locations, lost out to the northern Virginia community of National Landing — which is near Arlington and less than three miles from downtown Washington, D.C. — and Long Island City in Queens, New York. The company also said it would develop a smaller site in Nashville that will focus on operations and logistics, creating 5,000 jobs. 

In a joint statement released a short time after Amazon's announcement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Stefani Pashman indicated they were looking ahead with no regrets.

“The region, more than ever, is confident in our tremendous assets that would benefit any business looking to build or grow,“ they said. “In particular, our thriving innovation-supportive ecosystem is advantageous to technology-based companies, many of which already call this region home. For all of our businesses across a diversity of industry sectors, Pittsburgh is growing in a resilient and equitable way.”  

Amazon's decision to split the project isn't sitting well with those who accuse the company of ginning up the competition among cities only to change the rules midstream, according to the Washington Post

While many of the political leaders who pulled out all of the stops to lure the giant retailer to Pittsburgh are disappointed, the decision also eliminates a certain degree of risk. Experts told PublicSource an Amazon site in Pittsburgh would likely drive up housing values and rent prices due to an influx of high-income earners. This occurred in Seattle after Amazon’s first headquarters moved there in 2007. The average rent there has risen from $1,207 in 2011 to $2,159 today and the median home price is now $764,700. Experts also believe Amazon could make it harder for new tech companies to survive and put a strain on existing mass transit. 

Winning the Amazon beauty contest would have been a mixed blessing for Pittsburgh, according to Bert Sperling, the numbers cruncher behind Money Magazine's Best Places to Live feature. He tells the Pittsburgh Post Gazette “it would carry a lot of baggage with it.” 

But being a finalist has brought more attention to a city that has already gained notice for its burgeoning tech community, affordable housing and quality of life,” he says. 

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