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Amazon Counts Its Suitors: 238 Want to Be Home for 2nd Headquarters

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By NICK WINGFIELD
© 2017 New York Times News Service

SEATTLE — Amazon said Monday it received a total of 238 proposals from cities and regions across North America that want to be the home of its proposed second headquarters.

The bids, received by Thursday’s deadline, came from so many places across the continent that it’s perhaps simpler to note the ones that didn’t fall over themselves to woo Amazon.

The company did not provide a list, but a color-coded map posted on its website revealed the applicants came from all but seven U.S. states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Vermont, Arkansas and Hawaii.

In Canada, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory and New Brunswick were among the provinces those that said no thanks. In Mexico, on the other hand, Amazon’s map shows just three applications, from the states of Chihuahua, Hidalgo and Querétaro.

In all, Amazon said the proposals came from 54 states, provinces, districts and territories (including Puerto Rico). The company has said it will announce its decision sometime next year.

When Amazon announced on Sept. 7 that it was taking bids for a second headquarters, which it calls HQ2, it kicked off weeks of chest-thumping, publicity stunts and prostration by cities and regions eager to lure the 50,000 high-paying jobs Amazon has promised for the new campus.

While the bidding frenzy has prompted weeks of free publicity for Amazon, the process has also sparked criticism of Amazon’s request that applicants include tax breaks and other incentives available to sweeten their proposals, derided by some as a form of corporate welfare. New Jersey has floated the idea of providing $7 billion in state and city tax incentives to bring Amazon to Newark.

A few applicants went in the opposite direction and sought to highlight their decision to not bid on Amazon’s second headquarters. A business group in Little Rock, Arkansas, recently took out a newspaper ad (in The Washington Post, owned by Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos) and created an internet video telling Amazon it didn’t want the traffic hassles its new headquarters would bring to town. Arkansas is the home state of Amazon’s archrival, Walmart.