Amazon HQ2 search ignites public hunt for signs

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Cities are throwing billions of dollars at...Amazon?

When information broke Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would converse at an occasion this week, some folks speculated he may tease particulars concerning the firm’s seek for a second headquarters. Despite the fact that Amazon denied this might occur.

However the govt would not converse in public fairly often, and he was showing in Washington DC, a contending metropolis.

In the end, Bezos sat down for an hour-long chat with hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist David Rubenstein on the Financial Membership of Washington on Thursday night time a few vary of matters, together with the state of media, his each day habits and early childhood schooling. (Earlier within the day, Bezos and his spouse, MacKenzie, dedicated $2 billion to fund current nonprofits that assist homeless households and to create a community of preschools in low-income communities).

It was a day of Bezos information with out a peep concerning the winner of HQ2, a brand new facility that may create 50,000 jobs and value $5 billion to construct. After Amazon obtained 238 proposals, it chosen 20 finalists in January. Amazon plans to announce the profitable metropolis by finish of the 12 months, and Bezos confirmed this in the course of the speak.

Though the search has offered few updates, theories about which metropolis will make the minimize are solely rising.

When Newark was chosen this 12 months to host the Voice Summit, a tech convention sponsored by Amazon Alexa, some folks noticed it as a optimistic signal. Actually, Aisha Glover — CEO of Newark Neighborhood Financial Growth Corp., the group spearheading the town’s HQ2 efforts — mentioned her cellphone blew up with congratulatory messages.

Throughout Labor Day weekend, one other Bezos look precipitated a stir: he was photographed at a Miami night time membership, prompting this Miami Herald headline: “Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was noticed at LIV. Might this be excellent news for Miami’s HQ2 bid?”

However Michael Finney — CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, which is main Miami’s HQ2 efforts — mentioned Bezos’ look would not make him to leap to conclusions. “Clearly having Mr. Bezos right here to go to our group is definitely one thing of curiosity,” he mentioned. “[But] we simply view it as one other a part of the method.”

Earlier this 12 months, Arlington, Virginia — a part of the Washington DC metro space — was thought of the frontrunner when native information outlet ARLNow.com mentioned an article about an environmental award from December 2017 was one among its most trafficked articles in mid-February. The vast majority of the article’s views got here from what appeared to be an inner Amazon.com web page targeted on the second headquarters search.

As cities sit tight ready for Amazon’s response, the general public appears to be like for clues. Some viewers and media retailers even analyzed Amazon’s Tremendous Bowl advert in quest of solutions. Within the industrial, voice assistant Alexa says the temperature in Austin, Texas — one of many remaining 20 contenders.

In the meantime, The New York Put up speculated that Amazon might announce the profitable metropolis on July 5, the corporate’s birthday. However that did not occur.

amazon hq2 map
The 20 finalists for HQ2 embrace Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York Metropolis.

“[Many] rumors to this point have been flawed,” mentioned Nathan Jensen, an economist on the College of Texas at Austin.”What’s attention-grabbing is how tight of a ship Amazon should run on their finish. Nothing has come out on this course of, which is fairly superb.”

Newark’s Glover mentioned Amazon has finished an “superb job” of getting the nation excited and within the search.

“All people is asking me [about HQ2] at dinner events, within the college drop off line and at household barbeques. It is actually fascinating,” she mentioned.

CNN’s Lydia DePillis contributed reporting.

CNNMoney (New York) First revealed September 14, 2018: 2:48 PM ET



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