As Pittsburgh holds its collective breath awaiting news on Amazon’s HQ2, here’s another clue for interpreting: Mayor Peduto has confirmed that Amazon reps have visited Pittsburgh.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Mr. Peduto confirmed Friday that Amazon representatives spent about 24 hours in the Steel City in what he described as a ‘real estate tour’ to look at potential sites offered to the company in the region’s bid for HQ2. The mayor declined to reveal what sites the Amazon contingent visited other than to say that they ‘are either under public-private partnership or privately owned.’”
Those sites are thought to include Hazelwood Green (the 178-acre site that was Almono), the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District and the 195-acre World Trade Center site at Pittsburgh International Airport.
How serious was the visit? “I wouldn’t call it formal,” the P-G quoted Mr. Peduto as saying on Friday of the visit. “It wasn’t meeting with electeds, community leaders and all of that. It was more of a real estate tour. … And they just brought their own team in and were gone within a day.”
The New York Times reported this past week that all Amazon finalist sites have been visited.
Neither County Executive Rich Fitzgerald or the mayor have confirmed when exactly the visit took place. But the P-G estimates that it must have taken place sometime after March 7, because at that time the mayor said no visit had been scheduled.
And there may be more to come: “Neither Mr. Fitzgerald nor Mr. Peduto saw the Pittsburgh visit as a ‘one and done,’” the P-G said. “They suspect that Amazon continues to scout the finalists even if the so-called official tours have been completed.”
When will the final announcement happen? No one is offering a firm date, but the Mayor said once again that Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018 — for tax purposes.