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Site Visits Fuel Anticipation For Amazon’s HQ2

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Adding to the anticipation for a decision on its $5 billion HQ2 project, Amazon has reportedly made visits to multiple finalists. According to a person with a understanding of the visits, the eCommerce retailer visited Chicago, New York City and Chicago, The Wall Street Journal reported.

At the same time, however, those familiar with Amazon’s process noted that the retailer hasn’t made a deal, but that they might make near-final deals with multiple locations prior to announcing the final selection. That could enable the retailer to keep its choice unknown ahead of an announced decision.

In terms of geographies, unnamed sources say that Amazon might want an urban site. However, the suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern Virginia, along with the District of Columbia, have “long been speculated to be frontrunners,” according to the paper. That is partly because Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and has a house in the region.

As they await Amazon’s final decision on which city will become its planned second headquarters, the 20 finalists are keeping mum on the incentives they have promised the eCommerce giant if chosen. According to The New York Times in August, there are concerns that taxpayers could get stuck with a huge bill to cover those tax breaks and other incentives.

Jared Evans, a member of the Indianapolis City-County Council, told the paper, “the only time the public may become aware if the city has promised Amazon incentives is if we win, and then we need to get those incentives passed.”

In January, Amazon announced its 20 finalists for its second headquarters (HQ2). Austin, Boston, New York and D.C. all made the cut, as did some surprises like Columbus, Ohio. Amazon’s preferences for its HQ2 site specify a metropolitan location, a local population exceeding one million people, access to a solid mass transit system, a major airport nearby and a strong enough local economy to attract and retain talented workers.

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