Philly’s higher-ups recently have been trying their hardest to get the attention of Amazon in order to have the company build its enormous new offices in the city. But if they haven’t gotten the attention of the online shopping behemoth yet, at least their attempts are worth a little satire.
The Onion today pokes fun at Philly’s push to be the home of Amazon’s HQ2 in an article titled “Confident Philadelphia Officials Preemptively Raze Center City to Make Room For Amazon Headquarters.” In it, Philly officials have decided to knock down two square miles of Center City and relocate 57,000 Philadelphians in order to accommodate Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' e-commerce empire, all without a guarantee that the company is even coming here.
The Onion’s version of Mayor Jim Kenney, of course, was gung-ho on the decision, calling it “an easy call” to demolish Center City:
“After taking a look at the competition and figuring we probably have this thing in the bag, we just went ahead and tore down Center City so Amazon can move right in,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, noting that destroying Philadelphia’s central business district was “an easy call” and that he was proud of the city’s campaign to woo the company with promotional videos, full-page newspaper ads, and endorsements from state politicians and local celebrities. “We look forward to all the jobs and economic benefits that will be coming our way once Amazon decides to call what used to be Center City home.”
In addition to losing landmarks like LOVE Park and City Hall, plus neighborhoods including Society Hill and Penn’s Landing, the piece also has Kenney’s office displacing 100,000 Philadelphia residents around the city in advance of Amazon’s supposed arrival. The company’s employees, after all, need somewhere to stay.
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Amazon chooses Philadelphia, whether that requires tax incentives, infrastructure upgrades, or filling the Schuylkill with concrete to create more parking,” The Onion’s version of Kenney concludes in the piece. “I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until it’s all official.”
However, as the piece makes clear, Philly loses out on the headquarters, making all that destruction and work for nothing.
Funny, yes, but also maybe a little too real. Philadelphia officials have been going after Amazon intensely, going so far as to launch an $85,000 ad campaign centering on bus wraps in Seattle, where the company is currently headquartered. According to CBS, Philadelphia has spent around $250,000 courting Amazon, all told.
And, according to the Wall Street Journal, Philly isn’t a top contender for the Amazon’s new headquarters among the 238 cities that submitted bids. That publication’s number one city? Dallas.
We also, however, aren’t the only city to try a unique promotion to get Amazon’s attention. Tucson, Ariz., for example, attempted to mail the company a 21-foot-tall Saguaro cactus, while Birmingham, Ala. installed giant Amazon boxes in its downtown. Stonecrest, Ga., meanwhile, offered to rename a section of its town after the company, and New York City lit the Empire State Building with orange lights in honor of Amazon.
“We wanted to stay on the right side of eager,” Mayor Kenney’s communications director Lauren Hitt told the Inquirer of Philly’s Seattle campaign last month. “We don’t want to come off like a lovesick teenager.”