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Amazon announces 20 finalists for new headquarters

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The playoffs of the “urbanist super bowl” are about to begin

Workers surround the signature glass spheres under construction at the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. Amazon announced that it will buy Whole Foods Market, Inc. for over $13 billion dollars. 
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Not to be sidelined by another tech firm’s recent announcement of a new headquarters, Amazon announced its list of finalists for its HQ2 competition.

According to the New York Times, the company selected 20 different cities as potential hosts for its forthcoming second headquarters, a highly sought-after prize expected to come with 50,000 high-paid employees and $5 billion in investment from the retail giant. A total of 238 cities from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada submitted proposals.

Based on the company’s detailed request for proposal—which sought out metro areas with more than 1 million people; a stable, business-friendly environment; an urban or suburban location that can retain tech talent; proximity to major highways and an international airport; and access to mass transit—many of the major cities on this morning’s list, especially those on the East Coast and in Texas, weren’t big surprises. Perhaps the most unexpected finalists are Indianapolis, Indiana; Miami, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio.

Amazon

The company’s fall announcement seeking proposals generated considerable interest from local leaders, who raced to come up with the best sites for a future Amazon headquarters, as well as the most favorable packages of tax breaks and business incentives (many of which are still not public).

Some cities have been criticized for offering too much, including some deals, such as a proposal from New Jersey, that would give the company billions in tax breaks.

According to the New York Times report, during this second phase, Amazon reps will be in closer touch with the finalists. The company has so far provided few additional details about how it will pick the winner, only saying it’ll use the same criteria spelled out in the RFP.

Here’s a list of all the finalists announced this morning, with links to Curbed cities with more local reporting: