Is Amazon Coming to Philadelphia?

October 20, 2017 //
Downtown Skyline of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at twilight

In September, Amazon announced its plans to construct a second headquarters in the United States. Cities across the country are desperately bidding to be the host with hopes of bringing in new sources of revenue and grow local job markets. With dozens of cities already drafting proposals, where does this leave Philadelphia?

When it comes down to Amazon’s wish list, Philadelphia fits the mold. Among other things, Amazon is looking for a city with a population of at least one million, access to mass transit and an international airport, and an educated workforce.

Peter Chinloy, finance professor at the Fox School, sees Philadelphia’s potential to be a prime destination for the new hub. “The company is targeting up to 50,000 people to be employed,” Chinloy weighs in. “Amazon is an extensive employer of skilled workers, accounting for 20% of the office space in its Seattle base.”

When it comes down to the actual location, Philadelphia is offering three potential sites to Amazon. Two are located in West Philadelphia, near Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. One of the West Philly locations is the Schuylkill Yards project. The third location is in the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.

A key advantage for Philadelphia is the rapidly growing millennial population, which accounts for most of the job growth in the state. Millennials aged 25-34 in Philadelphia are more likely to be homeowners, make more money, and earn more jobs than their older peers, thereby contributing substantially to the economy. This is a very inviting factor for Amazon, as they are advocating for job growth with the construction of a new headquarters.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state added 50,000 new jobs between July 2016-July 2017, with Philadelphia accounting for 90% of them. “While Philadelphia continues to struggle with unemployment and poverty, there is an available workforce,” says Chinloy. “This could create opportunities in warehousing, distribution, and delivery.”

Proposals for Amazon’s second headquarters are due by October 19, 2017. Although cities across the country are competing to host the new location, it is safe to say that Philadelphia has a lot to offer Amazon and is a strong contender in the competition.

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