Jason Cohen Pittsburgh - Amazon 2

Will Pittsburgh Be Home for Amazon HQ2? Part II

With over $5 billion in potential community investment and 50,000 jobs on the line, every city wants to host Amazon’s second headquarters. Since the company announced its intent to expand in BLAH, over NUMBER of cities have tosses their metaphorical hats into the ring. Over the past few months, the company has parsed through the submissions with all the quiet drama and political silence of a reality dating show. Just recently, Amazon officially released the names on its shortlist. Pittsburgh made the cut, as did Boston, Toronto, Atlanta, and Newark. But with so much drama surrounding the company’s choice, we’re left to wonder: How many names on this overhyped list are actual competitors, and which are just for show? Perhaps more importantly, does Pittsburgh stand a fighting chance? A few months ago, I published a post that assessed the city’s chances as a host – and now, I’ll take a closer look into the details that will either push the city above the rest or force it out of the game.

Many pro-Pittsburgh parties are optimistic about the city’s chances – and have ample reason to be. Pittsburgh is already well-known in corporate circles as a hub for advancement; the city hosts a thriving tech community and well-regarded talent pool. As Jim Rock, the CEO for the Pittsburgh-based robotics company Seegrid comments in an article for TribLIVE, “Pittsburgh has a long-standing reputation for innovation–long before top tech companies such as Apple, Google, Uber and even Amazon itself established a presence in the city.” More than a few high-level Amazon executives even have personal or professional connections to the city. But Pittsburgh’s culture and network isn’t the only draw in the city’s pitch; the area also financially attractive. The cost of commercial state is relatively low – especially when compared to those in its’ rival cities. The average cost per square foot of commercial real estate in Boston, for example, averages $50 per square foot. In Pittsburgh, the cost stands at around $30 per square foot.  

Pittsburgh’s advantages are clear. However, the city does face a number of challenges that may make it less attractive to Amazon’s board, including its comparatively modest workforce. HQ2 stands to make 50,000 jobs once it opens – and while that may sound impressive on paper, the open positions won’t do the community or company any good if there aren’t people to fill them. According to  a 2016 study by Allegheny Conference on Community, increasing retirement rates and an insufficient influx of workers could cause Pittsburgh to lose as many as 80,000 workers by 2025. Mayor Bill Peduto isn’t concerned, though; at a press conference shortly after the shortlist went public, he expressed his belief that Pittsburgh was more than equipped to compete with the other cities on the shortlist and could attract the workers if chosen. Currently, the city has made strides to cultivate talent and STEM interest in schools in an attempt to encourage young workers to pursue careers in tech. This all said, the city’s low workforce will be a factor Amazon will need to keep in mind when making their final selection.

It is worth noting that the so-called “shortlist” is not all that short. Amazon has approached the process with the calculation of a career politician and the dramatic savvy of a reality dating show, thereby fostering a competitive culture which will surely be to their benefit. The company even requested that those in Pittsburgh government sign a nondisclosure agreement and limit their communications to a single representative for greater confidentiality. It is unclear whether officials will comply with their request – but with the importance of the issue, silence seems likely. Pittsburgh stands as a fantastic candidate for HQ2; however, the choice ultimately comes down to Amazon.  With all of the secrecy and drama seen thus far, we can probably expect a few more months of drawn-out competitions and closed doors.

For more of Jason Cohen’s work, please visit JasonCohenPittsburgh.org.

Originally posted on JasonCohenPittsburgh.net


Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh’s MLK Day of Service

Habitat for Humanity pic

Habitat for Humanity
Image: habitat.org

Jason Cohen Pittsburgh is a real estate group headed by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania local Jason Cohen. When he is not providing local clients with in-depth, highly personalized real estate advising services, Mr. Cohen and his team engage in charitable activities, serving as one of the primary sponsors for the Habitat for Humanity special MLK Day program.

The MLK Day of Service is a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh event that takes place annually on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. As part of past MLK Day of Service events, the organization has completed a number of special projects including cleanups of multiple neighborhoods and homeless shelters, painting and other improvements at community centers and dance studios, and construction projects at local food pantries.

In recent years, MLK Day of Service has spread throughout the city to surrounding counties such as Braddock County, where volunteers helped paint a room at the Salvation Army Center, and Lincoln-Lemon County, where some 50 volunteers came together to make significant improvements to the Holy Trinity Baptist Church. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore also has been a beneficiary of MLK Day volunteer work. To learn more about MLK Day of Service opportunities, please visit www.pittsburghhabitat.org.

Humane Animal Rescue’s CLASS Program

Canine Life And Social Skills pic

Canine Life And Social Skills
Image: mydoghasclass.com

Jason Cohen is the founder of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, which provides real estate consulting to a wide range of people in Pittsburgh, from young entrepreneurs to experienced investors. Through his group, Jason Cohen is able to help Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organizations, such as the Humane Animal Rescue.

Formed after a merger between Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center and Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, Humane Animal Rescue is now of the largest animal welfare associations in the entire state of Pennsylvania. One of its main goals is to provide comprehensive care to abandoned, injured, or neglected animals.

Apart from care provision, the organization provides pet owner education programs, including the Canine Life And Social Skills (CLASS). CLASS is an assessment program that aims to test pet owners for their ability to train their pets to perform real-life skills. There are three levels in the program: the B.A., the M.A., and the Ph.D.. Pets are assessed on such skills as waiting at the door and m ore complex skills such as table manners. Pet owners receive a certificate for every level they successfully complete with their companion.

Allegion and Habitat Continue Partnership


Allegion and Habitat  pic

Allegion and Habitat
Image: allegion.com

Jason Cohen is a Pittsburgh-based real estate professional who runs his own advisory team where he offers consulting services to real estate investors. Outside of his work, Jason Cohen supports a number of charitable organizations in Pittsburgh and beyond, including Habitat for Humanity.

Last December, Habitat for Humanity partnered with Allegion Americas, which provided $100,000 in funding to build nine houses in Mexico. Approximately 120 individuals participated in the construction of these houses through their volunteer labor. To date, Habitat has helped close to 57,000 families in Mexico by providing them with affordable housing and a path to homeownership.

Allegion’s partnership with Habitat dates back to 2009, when the two organizations partnered with one another for the first time in Indianapolis. In addition to building homes, Allegion has helped Habitat by providing hardware that the organization sells in its Habitat for Humanity ReStores nationwide. In his comments, Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford touted the partnership between the two organizations as being mutually beneficial and expressed excitement about their future endeavors together.