Could Amazon's second HQ negatively impact affordable housing in Pittsburgh?

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Pittsburgh is in the running to get Amazon's new headquarters.

Channel 11 learned how that new headquarters could affect housing prices and affordable housing here.

Prices have skyrocketed in Seattle, but Channel 11 discovered Pittsburgh’s plan to make sure local housing stays affordable.

It's part of the city's Housing Opportunity Fund to build more affordable housing.


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Local leaders believe if things are done right, a major player like Amazon can come in without pricing residents out of their homes.

You don't have to go far into East Liberty to see how much the neighborhood is changing, with new, luxurious homes popping up next door to older ones.

It's led to development and has driven some from their homes- a pattern the city isn't interested in repeating if Amazon picks the Steel City for its second headquarters.

"We have to make sure we keep the fabric of our city intact. We want a place no matter what your income is you can live here in clean, decent affordable housing,” Rev. Ricky Burgess, a Pittsburgh city councilman, said.

The online retail giant plans on bringing 50,000 high-paying jobs to the city it selects for its new headquarters, raising concerns that lifelong residents could be driven from their homes if Pittsburgh is selected.

But Burgess believes the opposite could happen if affordable housing is built first, before new development takes off.

"If done right, it can be a catalyst to rebuild these neighborhoods. Remember we don't just want to build low-income housing. We want to build better schools, all of the amenities and business districts,” Burgess said.

The Seattle neighborhood that houses Amazon has seen home sale prices double over the last decade.

But local experts aren't ready to predict a jump in housing prices if Amazon comes.

"I think we're going to see a very smooth transition. I'm not worried about it at all, I think it would be a really great thing,” Anissa Coury, the ACRE executive director, said.

Erie said it's backing Pittsburgh’s bid to get Amazon's second headquarters.

City leaders told Channel 11’s news partner The-Tribune-Review they knew they didn't have a shot at the Amazon proposal, so they're pushing for Pittsburgh to win. 

Erie says Pittsburgh is the closest competitive city and it hopes Pittsburgh will in turn advocate for Erie to get future Amazon call center or data center sites.


 

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