... But what if Amazon HQ2 really did come to Philly? - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 7, 2018 11:00 am

… But what if Amazon HQ2 really did come to Philly?

Here's what might actually happen if the tech behemoth decides to drop its second American headquarters in the city — the good, and the bad.

Sunrise in Philadelphia.

(Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Lately, jobs have been on Philly’s mind a little more than usual.

To name a few instances: There was the City of Philadelphia’s February release of its workforce development plan, “Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine,” to connect low-skill workers to jobs and encourage employers to train them for better ones, with a goal to get $13 million committed to the initiative annually.

Then the Lenfest Foundation granted $5 million to Drexel University, University City District and University City Science Center to increase their career training efforts in West Philly.

And the biggest, albeit the biggest maybe, of them all: Philly made tech corporation Amazon’s shortlist for cities where it could — could — plop its second American headquarters, along with 50,000 high-skill tech jobs, and Mayor Jim Kenney wants it bad.

Which has prompted many a pondering: What if?

“What if the city wins, and a multibillion-dollar company traipses into town, commandeering scarce local resources, with the city pinning its hopes on the thousands of jobs and billions of bucks in indirect tax revenue?” wrote software engineer Chris Beiter, who moved to Seattle from Philadelphia last year to work for tech company DocuSign, in an essay for Technical.ly Philly on Tuesday.

Indeed, there will be downsides, he noted — from jacked-up Eagles ticket prices (though we already knew that was going to happen) to the speeding of certain neighborhood’s gentrification. (Generocity columnist Tivoni Devor argued in September that Amazon should be more concerned with wooing Philly than the other way around, and that the company’s first point of concern should be preventing displacement of existing residents.)

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But it could also be a boon for the city in the form of increased innovation, more construction dollars and better internships for local student, to name a few. Check out Beiter’s smart analysis over at Technical.ly.

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