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Kenney responds after Philly loses Amazon HQ2 bid

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“It put Philadelphia in the national (and international) spotlight”

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After nearly a year of waiting with bated breath, the news is finally in: Philly will not be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters.

Instead, the tech giant is splitting up its next location between spots in Philly’s two closest major cities: Long Island City in New York City and Crystal City just outside of D.C., Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced this week.

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney addressed the news in a statement Tuesday, saying he recognizes the process was a competitive one and that he’s honored Philly was among the top contenders. Since January, Philly has been one of 20 cities across the country that Bezos was considering for the second headquarters. But even without the location itself, the focus on Philly has been beneficial to the city, Kenney said.

“It put Philadelphia in the national (and international) spotlight – increasing our visibility to other companies and showing our viability for other large-scale projects,” he said in the statement, adding that the process prompted, “key stakeholders” to come together over a shared message for the city.

Despite its benefits, the news is undoubtably a tough blow for city officials, who hadn’t given up hope, even as late as last week, when speculation arose that Bezos was eyeing New York and Virginia. Kenney told PlanPhilly at the time that he wouldn’t respond to the “constant speculation” about Amazon’s next location.

Since Philly made the list of finalists in January, it seems the prospect of the headquarters, which would bring a $5 billion investment and at least 50,000 employees to the city, was on the back of everyone’s minds. When the rail park opened in Callowhill in the summer, Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin hinted that the park and projects like it, could help attract businesses like Amazon.

It came up again when city council members discussed a major construction tax bill in the spring, and amended the bill to ensure that Amazon would be exempt from the tax.

Now that the prospect of a financial boost from Amazon is gone, Kenney hopes the city will keep the excitement it gained over the past year, going.

“I am hopeful that we will continue to harness the energy found throughout this process and apply it to future business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts in Philadelphia.”

  • Amazon HQ2 winners: New York City and Arlington, Virginia [Curbed]
  • Amazon narrows list of HQ2 contenders—and Philly might not make the cut [Curbed Philly]
  • Kenney ‘won’t speculate on speculation’ that Philly’s out of running for Amazon HQ [PlanPhilly]
  • Long-awaited Rail Park opens first phase [Curbed Philly]
  • Amazon headquarters would be exempt from new construction tax [Curbed Philly]

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