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Amazon to tell Baltimore why it didn't make the cut for HQ2

Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh on how disappointed she was in Amazon's decision to not list Baltimore as one of its finalist. (Baltimore Sun video)

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said Thursday that “we may never know” why the city didn’t make a list of finalists to host Amazon’s much-sought second headquarters. It turns out she’ll know quite soon.

A spokesman for the Seattle-based retailer said Friday that the city’s leaders will get a briefing from the company about where their bid fell short.

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Adam Sedo, the spokesman, said Amazon has been contacting the 200-plus jurisdictions that submitted bids to host the new office but didn’t make a list of 20 still in the running.

Baltimore will learn more in the coming days, Sedo said. He declined to share any details of the company’s reasoning.

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Amanda Smith, a spokeswoman for Pugh, said the mayor looks forward to hearing from the company.

“We anticipate feedback, but we have not received any yet,” she said.

Baltimore is out of the running for Amazon’s second headquarters, the company announced Thursday. However, Maryland’s Montgomery County is among the 20 finalists.

Amazon announced in September that it was looking to spend $5 billion on a new office dubbed HQ2 that eventually would host some 50,000 workers. The news set off a frenzy among economic development agencies around the country, which rushed to submit proposals to woo the Seattle-based firm.

Gov. Larry Hogan threw his support behind Baltimore, which pitched Port Covington, the mega-development in the southern part of the city being built by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank’s development firm, as an option that would be ready for Amazon to build what it wants.

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The full details of the pitch have not been released.

Marc Weller, one of the lead developers for Port Covington, said Amazon’s decision wouldn’t knock the project off course. He said he expected to hear more from Amazon soon.

“We’re focused on the future,” Weller said via a spokesman. “Interest in Port Covington from national and global companies is strong and growing, and while Amazon would have been a great addition, we never broke stride in our plan and our momentum continues.”

Prince George’s County also submitted several locations as possibilities to Amazon. David Iannucci, a county official, said he has yet to receive any feedback from the company but would seek one out, saying the county’s proposal was as “attractive and consistent” with what Amazon said it was seeking as anywhere in the country.

Some other unsuccessful cities already have heard from Amazon, according to local media reports. Officials in Detroit were told that insufficient talent and transit held them back.

While Baltimore fell short, Montgomery County did make the shortlist and Gov. Larry Hogan quickly pledged $5 billion in state aid if Amazon opted to locate there.

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