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Why some cities didn’t make Amazon’s HQ2 finals

There are lots of reasons, according to the local press.

Amazon HQ in Seattle David Ryder/Getty Images
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

When Amazon said last year that it was looking for a place to locate its second headquarters, cities around North America inundated it with proposals. Most didn’t make it.

In total, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities, states, districts and territories — all hoping for Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in spending. As of yesterday, just 20 cities are left on the shortlist.

Here are a few reasons why some didn’t make the cut, according to local press:

Baltimore, Maryland

Bad news about crime might have soured Amazon on Baltimore. Or maybe it was the lack of good mass transit.

Charlotte, North Carolina

“Our bid had the distinct feel of a 50-year-old putting on Adidas and a craft brew shirt to look cool to the kids,” wrote the editorial board at the Charlotte Observer. Still, Charlotte was able to buck up and congratulate its neighbor city, Raleigh.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit didn’t have a big enough pool of tech talent, the Detroit Free Press wrote. Its lack of mass transit might have hurt, too.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City lamented its minimal incentives to lure in Amazon as well as its relatively small population of tech workers, among other reasons.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnesota’s $3 million to $5 million in incentives to Amazon were far smaller than the “more than $1 billion in incentives offered by at least nine of the 20 cities still on Amazon’s list.”

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City’s mayor put some of the blame on a lack of state investment in education.

Salt Lake City, Utah

The governor’s office chalked it up to Salt Lake City’s tiny population and western location.

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis pitched a sky tram and a dedicated Amazon welcome center at its airport, but “Amazon just wasn’t that into us.” Its aging population might also have had something to do with it.

Tucson, Arizona

A giant saguaro cactus, vacant land and tax breaks weren’t enough to lure Amazon to Arizona.

Here are the cities that made the cut.

  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Mass.
  • Chicago, lll.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Montgomery County, Md.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • New York City, N.Y.
  • Northern Virginia, Va.
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Washington, D.C.

This article originally appeared on

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