D.C. Makes Amazon’s HQ2 Shortlist

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Jeff Bezos. Photo by Dan Farber.

Washington, D.C., is one of 20 places in North America to make the latest cut in Amazon’s search for a second headquarters, Amazon announced Thursday. The internet retail giant, founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, received 238 pitches for its HQ2 from cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. With $5 billion set to be invested, the second headquarters would be equal to Amazon’s original one in Seattle, the company said.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan of Amazon’s public policy office. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated D.C.’s nomination in the field of 20, which includes nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, with a noontime press announcement at Nationals Park.

“When asked what’s the best city for one of the fastest-growing companies, we answered: #ObviouslyDC,” Bowser said in a statement. “As Washington, D.C., continues to grow and we continue our focus on creating pathways to the middle class for more Washingtonians, it would be a win for our residents and the region to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs to our city. Making this list reaffirms what we already knew going into the bid process – Washington, D.C., is no longer a one-company government town. We are a leader in innovation and tech, brimming with top talent and endless opportunity.”

Amazon’s request for proposal last year had cities and regions falling over themselves to get the company’s attention with subsidies and incentives. In trying to close the deal, some cities declined to list all they were offering to the tech company.

Washington — as in “#ObviouslyDC” — made its big 76-page pitch with the usual strong themes of educated workforce, diverse transportation and closeness to the federal government among other lifestyle incentives. While reports on any additional incentives were not obtained, WAMU did report that D.C.’s pitch included a corporate tax rate freeze, tax credits and exemptions, as well as an Amazon University to be a partnership between D.C. universities and Amazon to fit the company’s specific talent needs.

Four D.C. neighborhoods are proposed as possible Amazon sites: Anacostia Riverfront, Capitol Hill East, NoMa-Union Station, and Shaw-Howard University.

The other finalists are: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus (Ohio), Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh (North Carolina) and Toronto.

The company said: “Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria outlined in the RFP to create the list of 20 HQ2 candidates that will continue in the selection process. In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.”

As far as the final decision goes, at least, the Washington area can boast three contenders.

In Georgetown, an Amazon bricks-and-mortar presence is being constructing right now. The company will open a book store on M Street this year.

 

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