Mayor Bill Peduto wants to see winning Amazon HQ2 bids before releasing Pittsburgh proposal
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he hopes the city will release in 48 hours its bid to Amazon for its second headquarters.
Peduto, who spoke to reporters after delivering his annual budget address, said he is inclined to release an unredacted copy of the bid, but he needed time to check with the city’s partners in developing the proposal.
“There are some parts that we had with private companies that we may have to redact,” Peduto said.
Amazon announced Tuesday that New York and Arlington, Virginia, would split the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment Amazon has promised with its HQ2. The company will build an operations center with 5,000 jobs in Nashville.
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner called on the bid to be released immediately.
“It is time for our residents to know what our elected leaders were willing to promise the world’s wealthiest man,” Wagner said in a statement released shortly after Amazon made its HQ2 announcement.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, became the wealthiest man in the world this year. His net worth is $137.2 billion, according to Forbes and can fluctuate billions based on Amazon’s stock price on any given day.
The contents of that bid have remained secret since the city submitted it in October 2017. City and county officials have said they would make the bid public after Amazon made its decision.
PGHQ2, the partnership between the city, county and Allegheny Conference on Community that developed and submitted the bid, said that the documents would be released in the coming days. The city offered Amazon only two local investment packages, according to a statement.
“Neither included using any existing city or county tax money/revenues,” the statement read. “Rather, the proposal included a strategy to make sure if Pittsburgh invested in Amazon, Amazon would have invested in us, to the benefit of all residents.”
Peduto said he first wants to see what details emerge from the winners.
“Once we get an opportunity to see what New York and D.C. have offered so we have some sort of comparison I would think we could release it as soon as 48 hours, so Thursday,” Peduto said. “It’s my intention, and has been the intention all along, that once it has been formally decided that the information of the full bid and the non-disclosure agreement would cease so it should be available within 48 hours.”
Media organizations used Pennsylvania’s open records act to force the city, state and other public agencies involved in the bid to disclose it. The state Office of Open Records ruled the bid was a public record. Pittsburgh and Allegheny County appealed that decision to the county’s Court of Common Pleas.
Common Pleas Senior Judge W. Terrence O’Brien ruled at the end of October that the city and county must make public the bid in 30 days. O’Brien’s ruling instructed the bid to be released without redactions.
The city and county said they would appeal the decision to the state’s Commonwealth Court. Peduto said Tuesday he didn’t know if officials will still appeal O’Brien’s ruling.
Peduto said he didn’t see missing out on Amazon’s HQ2 as a complete loss. The city would use the bid developed to woo the company to entice other developers.
Aaron Aupperlee and Bob Bauder are Tribune-Review staff writers.