Local economic development group making pitch to Amazon

By Brigid Edmunds - bedmunds@timesleader.com | September 12th, 2017 1:44 pm

PITTSTON — While Northeastern Pennsylvania doesn’t meet all the requirements for the potential location of Amazon’s second headquarters, John Augustine believes it is still a viable option.

Augustine, president and CEO of Penn’s Northeast, an economic development agency, said his group is working with its partners across five counties in an effort to make a bid to Amazon.

“We figured if you don’t try, you can’t win,” Augustine said.

The first step in putting together a bid is choosing a possible location for the headquarters. Augustine said he and his colleagues are working on proposing a few different property options in the area.

Once a location is chosen, Augustine said at different demographics, such as cost of living, tax base and the colleges and universities in the area and what relevant programs they have available to potentially put students in the workforce will be studied.

“It starts with a location,” he stressed.

Even though the area doesn’t meet every preference Amazon listed — for instance, a metropolitan area that’s home to more than 1 million people — he believes the region’s proximity to major metropolitan areas and its low cost of living make it an attractive option.

He said local officials have already offered support, such as U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, who wrote a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Augustine said Penn’s Northeast, based in Pittston, will actively seek support from municipal leaders, as well.

“We want to put our best foot forward to show what Northeastern Pennsylvania has to offer,” he said.


By Brigid Edmunds


Reach Brigid Edmunds at 570-991-6113 or on Twitter @brigidedmunds.