Orlando loses bid to become Amazon's second headquarters

Twin Cities don't make the cut as Amazon narrows list of possible second HQ cities

Local area makes Amazon's top 20 list for new headquarters

Now Amazon has announced their 20 finalists, and there aren't that many surprises on the list.

Greenville and Spartanburg put in a combined bid for the headquarters - touting the area as "Charlanta" - on Interstate 85 between Atlanta and Charlotte. Also among those selected: New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. "Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough - all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity", said Holly Sullivan, of Amazon public policy.

Amazon said it received 238 applications in total and that it expects to make a final decision this year.

Some tried to woo CEO Jeff Bezos with outlandish gifts, such as the 21-foot Saguaro cactus a Tucson-area development group attempted to ship to Seattle (Amazon donated it to an Arizona park).

"Naturally, like all Baltimoreans, I am disappointed that our city was not selected as among the finalists for Amazon's new headquarters".

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Epps said he and the rest of the city are "ecstatic" about Philadelphia being named a finalist, and expected to see most of the other cities that also made the cut. Real estate group CBRE previously ranked Washington D.C. among the top five cities in the US with tech talent.

He said Amazon may use the list to pit the locations against each other and get better tax breaks or incentives. The company plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. The company said it would give preference to "stable and business-friendly" cities that can attract and retain technical talent.

"We would have loved to have made it into the next round for Amazon's second headquarters but everyone here is incredibly proud of the proposal we submitted", Mayor Mike Duggan said.

Jacksonville failed to land on Amazon's top 20 locations for its second headquarters. In September, Times columnist Danny Westneat warned potential HQ2 cities of a "prosperity bomb" that would wipe out mom-and-pop shops and old diners and replace them with "the new and sterile", plus an invading army of "bros" as a result of Amazon's mostly male workforce.

Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on criteria outlined in the request for proposals. As companies including GE Healthcare, ConAgra and McDonalds have concluded, Chicago offers unparalleled opportunities, and we are going to continue to work as a region to make the case to Amazon that Chicago is the ideal location for HQ2.

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