School Closings And Delays

Could NEPA Be Amazon’s New HQ2?

PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- Online retail giant Amazon is based in Seattle, but company officials are looking for a place to put a second headquarters and Northeast Pennsylvania is in the running.

It's a big business deal and plenty of places are competing. Bids were due Thursday.

Penn’s Northeast is an economic development agency NEPA; the agency put together a proposal on behalf of five counties: Schuylkill, Monroe, Wayne, Luzerne and Lackawanna.

"I think if it would help to boost our economy it would be a real positive thing for the area. I sometimes work with underprivileged and low-income families and I think it would make more opportunity available in the area it would help them and it might help others so it could definitely help our area to blossom and to grow and to be more competitive,” said Brenda Grunza of Lake Sheridan.

There are already Amazon facilities in Northeast PA including a warehouse in Pittston Township, one near Hazleton, and one in Covington Township, Lackawanna County.

Those warehouses have helped boost local businesses, like Uncle Joe's Pizza in Pittston Township.

"Oh we get orders from them all the time, we have a ton of people come here from lunch from them. I think that adding to all the businesses just creates a bigger industry area where there's more jobs which is great,” said owner Kristene Sciandra.

A new Amazon headquarters is expected to bring 50,000 full-time jobs over 10 to 15 years with average annual salaries of $100,000.

Big cities in the Keystone State like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are competing for the headquarters location, too.

Some say NEPA is a better choice for all kinds of reasons.

"Trust me, I'm from New York. I've been there, I know what it's like. The cost of living is just ridiculous if not near impossible,” said Sciandra.

Northeast PA does not meet all of Amazon's specifications for a second headquarters location.

For example, Amazon wants a metropolitan area of more than a million people but locals say they have faith this area is a contender anyway.

"We could. Why not? What's wrong with Wilkes-Barre? I mean, Pittston or wherever it is? We can beat anybody if we try. Seriously," said Abdulla Kazimi of Dallas.

Amazon officials plan to announce the new location in 2018.

36 comments

  • Bchem

    People need to understand this is NOT a warehouse. These positions will be skilled WHITE COLLAR. Such as programmers,software engineers,graphics people etc. NEPA does not have a large pool of these people.And the location and few amenities.There is no chance of competing with other areas,even within the state.Places like Allentown,Pittsburgh or outside of Philly…maybe.

  • Russ

    So I say to the endless numbers for negative speakers below: Instead of slamming how things are here over and over, how about offering up some solutions to the problems? Arm chair QB-ing all the problems is easy. And spare the political talking points of one side or another, and the jokerly answers. Genuinely, what could be done to turn this “little” metro area around?

    • Porky

      Stop appeasing state unions and their subsequent retirements by initiating new taxes on successful industries. PA State Police retirements are based upon their final year’s salary – including overtime. Specifically, I know of several who have doubled or nearly tripled their salaries in order to boost retirement. PennDot workers are minimally credited with 2% of their salary towards retirement for each year they work. In nearly all districts, PA teachers contribute 0 to their benefits yet they receive full benefits including healthcare in retirement. PA and UT are the only states operating the liquor business, and privatization for licensing, taxes, and subsequent renewal fees would far surpass any perceived recurring revenue from a fluctuating extraction tax.
      PA residents need to implore government to reel in spending – not tax successful industries to fund nonsense. THIS is why you’ll never see a company like Amazon setup in the state.

  • Keepdreaming

    I’m dying laughing with this story. It will never happen here. Amazon will pick a third world country before moving here to NEPA.

    • captain kirk

      I lived in other metro areas throughout the country and what NEPA has to offer Amazon corporate is really laughable.

  • letsberealistic

    This NEPA area is the most delusional and backward area in the United States. Lets face it, 10 percent corporate tax rate is pathetic. Pa is already at a disadvantage for new business Then lets talk labor force, with the drug epidemic and the high out-migration rates of college graduates this area is one of the worst in the united states for labor force. . i mean there is corp tax loopholes for depressed areas but with the gas tax being so high and the duplication of services at the local level. No large profitable corporation wants to relocate workers here. Then quality of life is another big thing. lets face it the roads are horrible in the winter, when it snows and full of potholes when it doesn’t. It is always cloudy 75 percent of the year and thats depressing. Then in turn, the cities and small towns have become drug infested and row homes have been deteriorating for years amid the coal bank and tangled mountain laurel filled scenery. Start setting realistic goals here for once NEPA or more educated move young will get the heck out fast!

  • scaryterry

    LMAO all you morons have to do is research what an awful and horribly run facility AVP in Hazleton is. This is one of the worst companies to work for on the whole planet, i know from 2 years experience. And how delusional to say 100k annual salary for 50k warehouse jobs lmao, but I guess earning 13 an hour for alot of you is basically the same thing. Poor old pathetic NEPA and its dumb residents getting all excited for nothing. It wont happen or if it does it will suck so badly theyll pull out in a few mknths to a year.

    • captain kirk

      Some areas in Florida and GA start amazon distribution workers at $11.00 an hour. distribution jobs usually start between $10-15 an hour nation wide, you are correct, no close to the 50 k a year, (higher numbers are used to help political pushers) and the turnover rate is quite high. This bid is not for operations in distribution. its for Corporate jobs, such as IT, Account Managers, Human Resources, Accounting, Supply Chain Management and Business Analysis. NEPA would have to be on the bottom of the list for this bid.

  • les

    With the daily carnage on I-81, 80 and 380, can you even imagine? Lol! And when it snows in the winter, and PennDOT does their regular job of NOT keeping the roads clear…oy.

  • Adam B

    Does anyone want to hear a few casual jokes and then tell me what you think? I want to know if they’ll be funny to use at the next school board meeting

  • Huggy

    SEDCO won’t be able to land Amazon even if they just give the corporation a distribution site for free this time (instead of some shady land deal involving personal interests/ownership). Then again maybe they will. These companies must laugh over a cocktail after raking Skooks over the coals. If SEDCO bought a car, they’d be a shady salesman ‘s wet dream.

  • Kip

    This is like saying Shenandoah Valleys quarterback is being recruited by the Alabama crimson tide or Sandusky will be hired as head coach of the Steelers. More nepa delusions.

  • yuiki

    Hahaha hahaha no

    I’m sure Amazon chooses very carefully and once they see all the child molesters, low lives, corrupt government officials, kids for cash, Walmart shooter, in an area as small as this. They will throw up, clean themselves up and look elsewhere

    • clem

      Look at all the sex offenders that work in the Covington industrial park. Look it up on Megans website zip code 18424.

  • Porky

    With the PA Legislature’s desire for a natural gas severance tax, why would any business even consider establishment in the st on ate? Once it became beneficial and profitable, PA would eventually focus on a specific industry tax to help fund state worker and teachers’ benefits and retirements. PA needs to cut spending on nonsensical benefits – not establish another tax to keep that train rolling and drive work away.

  • Warren Buffet

    By the time Amazon pays the requisite kick backs to the local politicians there won’t be much profit incentive for Amazon.

  • SMDH

    ?but locals have faith”. LOL. It’s going to the Tampa Bay area. The state of Florida is incredibly business friendly and it meets all of the criteria. NEPA has zero chance—in addition to the exhorbitatnt taxes and higher cost of doing business, there simply isn’t the wortkforce needed to support Amazon’s needs. Nice dream–ain’t gonna happen.

    • Captainkirk

      It won’t go to Tampa lived there 15 years. The bay Bridges are too much of a logistical nightmare getting to and from work. More formidable area by far than nepa. But not a chance either in Tampa.

      • SMDH

        Wanna bet Captain? I live in the area now and have for 10+ years. Your assumption is that the people will have to go to Tampa from Pinellas Country (Clearwater, St. Pete, etc.). That would require a trip across the Courtney Campbell, the Howard Frankland, or the Gandy, or the Bayside. There are tons of places to the east of the city of Tampa—near where Amazon located a warehouse in the last couple of years. You could be right and Tampa may not get it, but it won’t be because of the bridges or transportation. One thing is for sure—NEPA hasn’t a proverbial snowball’s chance. Remember—and this is important—and a fallacy of many of the comments on this post—this is not about warehouses. This is about an east coast headquarters for the corporation. That requires a very specific workforce with higher education and experience; one similar to that in the greater Tampa Bay area. Sadly, there is a huge brain drain in NEPA and while education is a big industry in the region, the overwhelming majority of graduates leave the area in search of opportunity.

      • captain kirk

        I am not arguing NEPA is pathetic! I Grew up here and cant believe and its decline and I am shocked by the lack of leadership. I live in Georgia now and it is also much more innovative here. TB has many transportation issues, urban sprawl is taking up much of the land in hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Maybe Polk for Amazon lots of commercial zoned land there and u can actually breathe, but kind of far from the orlando and Tampa major airports.

  • Fredric

    Every comment is on target. Put the lawn clippings back in the compost and stop smoking them.

    Amazon wants an airport with multiple direct flights to Seattle. There is no chance of that happening. My experiences at AVP have been a nightmare.

    How will you get on the plane when your REAL- ID is a pipe dream?

    The area has been straggled to death thanks to politicians, real estate interests and lousy education.

    Game Over.

  • AWE POO

    Pa. would tax them into bankruptcy the only business that can survive in this state is the alcohol and drug industry!

    • captain kirk

      10 percent corporate tax rate is a joke, (but distribution centers in some counties will get depressed area loophole breaks) and what corporate workers wanna move from other states to pay 6.6 percent income tax, school tax and the high gas tax. Its not like they would be living in paradise here.

  • Amazonian

    Amazon is looking for a vibrant metro area that will attract and keep plenty of college graduates, some having advanced degrees. I’d say that would exclude NEPA.

  • SteveG

    Every major city in America is trying to lure Amazon. To say Northeast PA is in the running is like saying that the Sacramento Kings are in the running to sign Lebron James or the Cleveland Browns have a chance of getting Aaron Rodgers.

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