Friday, March 30, 2018

Brandywine Realty's Sweeney: Amazon or not, Philly can grow more jobs

by Erin Arvedlund, Inquirer Staff Writer

Will Amazon make the difference in bringing jobs to Philadelphia? Gerard “Jerry” Sweeney says maybe — but Philadelphia could create even more jobs just by changing its tax structure and doing more to boost business in the city.

The president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust addressed the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning to a packed house, and said that whether or not Amazon picks the city for its next headquarters,  Philadelphia needs to generate more jobs.

Currently, Philadelphia lags in job growth, at just 1.3 percent annually over the last six years, compared with the national average of 2.1 percent over the same period, he said.

The average job growth rate of the top 25 cities is 2.8 percent annually. “We have an anemic job growth track record,”  he said. “Amazon has done a great job disrupting procurement. I love that they broke the bounds of traditional site selection processes. What they wind up doing, who knows? I was delighted we put together a great proposal in Philadelphia. We’ll see what happens.”

Amazon promised to bring 50,000 jobs to the city, which now has 600,000 jobs.

But more important, Sweeney said, “if Philadelphia grew at just the national average growth rate, we could generate 90,000 jobs over 10 years. That’s the important thing. It’s not ‘Amazon, please pick us.’ We’ve got to look inward to drive that growth.”

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