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Amazon's HQ2 About-face
Scott Calvert, Eliot Brown, Peter Grant, Tawnell Hobbs, Katie Honan, Melissa Korn, Douglas MacMillan, Eric Morath, Keiko Morris, Shayndi Raice, Stephanie Stamm, Laura Stevens, Jimmy Vielkind and Lauren Weber

Speculation about which city Amazon would choose for its second U.S. headquarters (HQ2) occupied Wall Street and Main Street for more than a year, but more than a week before the online retailer’s announcement about its choice, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Amazon was splitting its expansion — and the accompanying promise of $5 billion and 50,000 jobs over nearly 20 years — across two communities. The package analyzed why Amazon made this surprise decision, noting how difficult it is to find top tech talent and that the move eased potential issues with housing and transit, among other things. Reporters also explained why Amazon ultimately chose New York’s Long Island City and Crystal City in Northern Virginia by using interactive graphics to show the two sites’ advantages, including ample office space, a college educated labor force, quality of life, logistics and business-friendly tax incentives. Reporters also examined the fierce competition to become Amazon’s HQ2; some 238 cities and regions submitted proposals, a number that was winnowed to 20 finalists, and each invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on its bid and site visits to woo the company. In the end, the reporters found that the bidding war unleashed by this “beauty pageant” showcased Amazon’s immense power and was a “publicity campaign for the ages.”

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