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Amazon reportedly begins headquarters search visits

CNBC logo CNBC 4/2/2018 Michael Sheetz

In the search for HQ2, Amazon representatives are visiting finalist cities and looking at the talent the e-commerce giant could attract with its second site. 

Company executives have visited more than 10 of the final 20 cities bidding for the company's second North American headquarters, according to multiple reports from local and national media.

These visits include Amazon requesting city officials provide analysis of the city's education and talent, as well as in-person visits to potential locations for the company's "HQ2," The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Cities are providing data such as the standardized test scores of high-school students, the report said, amidst other questions about local talent Amazon could attract.

Amazon's visits are revealing to city officials, who are finding the company is expecting to compromise on the perks and talent a location offers.

"They believe there is no American city that can provide for all their needs," one person involved in a location visit told the Journal.

Amazon is "a frugal-ass company," a city official involved told the WSJ, adding that their city did not want spend extravagantly to host the e-commerce giant's representatives.

Another person involved in a location visit said their city did not put up Amazon deputies in fancy hotels or provides gifts like private plane rides, according to the report. That official told the Journal their city was "concerned that if we went over the top, it would push them away." Those luxury items, traditional for courting prospective company involvements, are being left out for fear of pushing Amazon away.

While many of the finalist cities were euphoric to make the top 20 list, some have been less enthusiastic about welcoming the massive company into an dense, urban environment.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said he's "not going to cry" if Amazon chooses another of the 20 finalist metro areas over Denver, according to The Denver Post.

"There will be a sense of relief if they choose somewhere else, because there are a lot of challenges and lot of hard work we will be avoiding," Hickenlooper told the City Club of Denver on Tuesday, according to the Post.

Amazon has said it will spend $5 billion wherever it finally builds and will employ 50,000 people.

Read the full report in The Wall Street Journal here.

– CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.


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