Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Owners Offer Sites for Future Amazon Hq2

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Owners Offer Sites for Future Amazon Hq2

Article excerpt

Parkway Center Mall, a once-bustling retail center, met its demise four years ago. But its owner believes it could rise from the ashes to become a second headquarters for online retailer Amazon.

Kossman Development Co. is pitching the 100-acre site just minutes from Downtown as a possible location for Amazon's HQ2. It will offer it to regional leaders in the request for expressions of interest due Thursday.

Kossman is just one of the developers or property owners in the region rushing to cobble together sites to throw into the mix for HQ2, which the Seattle company claims could bring as many as 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment. The second headquarters would start at 500,000 square feet and could expand to as much as 8 million over time.

On the South Side, McKnight Realty Partners, owner of the River Walk Corporate Centre, is working with other property owners to assemble a tract that could stretch as much as 98 acres along the Monongahela riverfront.

Parkway Center Mall and the South Side parcels join a growing list of Pittsburgh-area properties already in the mix as possible locations for Amazon, including the 178-acre Almono site in Hazelwood, the 28-acre former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District, the 15-acre former J. Allan Steel site and adjacent land on the North Side, and the 195-acre World Trade Center site at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Pittsburgh-area developers and property owners have until 10 a.m. Thursday to offer properties to regional leaders as part of a request for expressions of interest issued last week.

So far, the response has been "very robust," said Kevin Acklin, chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald added that the properties include not only vacant sites, but buildings as well.

"It's going to give us and [Amazon] an awful lot of options to choose from," he said.

Kossman is pitching a mixed use development that could include the Amazon headquarters, retail, apartments, entertainment and a park.

"We're excited that the city of Pittsburgh has given us an opportunity to be considered by Amazon. We feel we can provide them with a site that is very centrally located with great access to major transportation networks and could provide them with a blank page to create a vision not only for Amazon but for the city," said Curtis Kossman, company president.

In the request for expressions of interest, the regional partnership assembling sites asked property owners and developers if they would be willing to hold the land off the market while Pittsburgh's bid is considered and if they would offer property free or at reduced prices.

While Mr. Kossman would not say specifically what his firm is prepared to do in that regard, he noted it would "work with the city any way we can to make this happen. …

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