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Amazon will not build HQ2 in Washington state

On Thursday, Amazon announced the number of cities still in the running for its second headquarters has been narrowed down to 20 from 238.

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None of those cities are in Washington state.

The only city on the West Coast proceeding to the “next step in the HQ2 process” is Los Angeles.

The other locations include:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Philadelphia
  • Raleigh
  • Toronto
  • Washington D.C.

Cities around Puget Sound urged Amazon to stay local.

Snohomish and King counties and the Tulalip Tribe tried to entice Amazon with a joint offer.

Near the end of the year, Amazon agreed to meet with Seattle and regional leaders to discuss how to have a more productive relationship. That meeting came after 25 regional leaders sent Amazon a letter after it was announced the company’s second headquarters would be located outside of Seattle. Some speculated that Amazon’s decision to build outside of the region is in response to — as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put it — an “unfavorable business climate.”

But it’s just as possible that Amazon never intended to build another headquarters in Washington. During the GeekWire Summit in October, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer business Jeff Wilke said, “Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest. It’s been terrific for me and my family, but I think we may find another location allows us to recruit a different collection of employees.”

GeekWire’s Todd Bishop told Seattle’s Morning News that it has been clear that Amazon wants to expand its reach with this move.

“To put another headquarters on the West Coast would have been a real surprise,” he said.

Bishop says it makes sense to see many of the final 20 cities located in the Midwest and Northeast. Cities in the former “Rust Belt,” for example, have great appeal, he said.

“The more we look at Pittsburgh at GeekWire, the more convinced we think it’s a contender.”

Amazon cutting down the list of finalists also shows how great the company is at public relations and “stunts,” Bishop added.

Listen to Bishop’s entire interview here.

Amazon expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction and an additional $38 billion to the chosen city’s economy, as well as create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs with HQ2. It will be a “full equal” to the campus in Seattle, which occupies more than 8 million square feet across more than 30 buildings.

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