Amazon Probably Won’t Choose Pittsburgh


To the excitement of many middling and large American cities, Amazon recently announced that it is looking for a second North American headquarters to go along with its current location in Seattle. Almost immediately, Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh tweeted “On it,” at the company. The odds, however, of Pittsburgh actually being chosen as the site of Amazon’s new HQ look pretty slim.

On its website, Amazon lists several criterion it is looking for: metropolitan areas with more than one million people; a stable, business-friendly environment; communities that think creatively when considering locations; and locations with the potential to attract and retain technical talent. The company has also said it is looking for an eventual site of 8 million feet (the same as its current HQ), a large airport, a good public transport system leading to the site of the HQ, a highly-educated workforce, and a high quality of life.

While Pittsburgh has many of these qualities, it does not have the most important ones. The population of Pittsburgh is only 300,000; even the entirety of Allegheny County only has a population of 1.23 million people. There is also the problem of transport. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a public transport system with sufficient connections to any possible sites, and the Pittsburgh International Airport, although currently experiencing renovations, is severely underdeveloped, mostly because there is no direct flight from Pittsburgh to Seattle, the site of Amazon’s current HQ.

If Amazon decides to choose Pittsburgh, it will be an incredible boon for the region’s economy and workforce, which is already on the rise due to tech and healthcare firms. But right now, the odds look pretty slim.