Since Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said he was looking for a second home for his online retailing behemoth, chambers of commerce and development consultants have snapped to attention to create plans to lure Amazon and its proposed 50,000 jobs.
And a preponderance of pundits have been predicting where Amazon will set up shop, each weighing Amazon’s stated needs against a location’s public transportation, airport accessibility, available space, number of college graduates and other factors.
Last week reporters Caitlin McCabe and Bob Fernandez wrote about Philadelphia’s chances according to area real estate leaders and architecture critic Inga Saffron wrote about why Philadelphia’s history and culture would make it a perfect place for Amazon to plant roots. But what do the national media think?
Forbes: Amazon should pick Philly
Let’s start with Adam Ozimek in Forbes, who makes a strong case for the city.
“What’s important to know about Philadelphia is that it is booming over the last few years,” Ozimek writes. Ozimek also cites the amount of commercial real estate under construction, the relatively low cost of living compared with other big cities, the number of universities in close proximity, and a major airport that’s only 15 minutes from downtown.
Bloomberg: Philly should be Amazon’s choice
For Bloomberg, Megan McArdle tries to make the case for Washington, D.C., but decides, “If I were [Bezos], I’d choose Philadelphia: It makes the company bicoastal, rather than plopping it down in a Midwestern or Western location that will continue to be isolated from the coastal economic hubs no matter how close you are to the airport.”
McArdle adds that Philadelphia has “the usual run of local governance problems you find in the old coastal cities, but it has three big universities and a number of smaller colleges to provide skilled workers, along with relatively cheap real estate, relatively good infrastructure, and an easy commute to Washington or New York. It also has a splendid food culture with lots of walkable amenities to keep your employees happy. And the city government would probably jump on a big for-profit employer with both feet.”
Slate: Philly makes the final four
Henry Grabar of Slate doesn’t view Philadelphia as a clear lock. But he sees the city as logical choice for Bezo’s final four, along with Baltimore, Chicago and Denver.
“On the East Coast are a pair of dark-horse candidates,” he writes: “Baltimore and Philadelphia. Baltimore has stellar cultural institutions, proximity to Washington without the housing costs, acres of open land, and a city government ready to play ball with big developers. Philadelphia has the same assets with a better regional transit system and easy access to New York.”
A downside for Philadelphia? Grabar says our residents “don’t make enough money.” (Note: We see that as a downside, too.) His concern is that low-income tenants will see the type of corporate giveaway the city may have to make to lure Amazon as “an unethical use of resources. (Which, fundamentally, it is.)”
New York Times: Philly’s a contender but…
In a very detailed analysis of 25 metro areas meeting Amazon’s population requirement, the New York Times picked Denver as the winner, but what do they know. The Philadelphia region was cut early in the times analysis.
CNN: Philly is not even on the list