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Amazon Chooses 20 Locations as Finalists for New Headquarters 

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By NICK WINGFIELD
© 2018 New York Times News Service

SEATTLE — Amazon said Thursday that it had whittled the list of possible homes for its second headquarters to 20, including centers of technology like Boston and some surprise locations like Columbus, Ohio.

The list of finalists leans toward locations in the Midwest and South and on the East Coast, and away from the tech-saturated hubs of the West Coast. Many of the finalists, including Dallas; Denver; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Washington, were considered shoo-ins from the moment Amazon announced the search, largely because of the attributes that the company said it was seeking for its second home. Those criteria included a metropolitan area with a population of greater than 1 million and the ability to attract and keep strong technical talent.

More unexpected was Amazon’s selection of Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Nashville; and Miami. Other cities that made the list include Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, New York and Toronto. Los Angeles was the sole city from the West Coast to make the cut.

The company, based in Seattle, selected the finalists out of a pile of more than 238 applications submitted by local officials in Mexico, Canada and the United States — all of them eager to attract the 50,000 high-paying jobs the company says it could bring. When the unusual public contest was announced in September, it set off a public charm offensive by the applicants, with many local officials trying to entice Amazon with tax breaks and other benefits.

The process will now shift into a new phase, with Amazon representatives communicating more directly with finalist cities as they prepare to select a winner later this year.

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of economic development. “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.”

Amazon provided little detail about how it pick the finalists for its second headquarters, which it is calling HQ2, other than to say it based it choices on the criteria it laid out for the search earlier.

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