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Huntington Beach-Long Beach pitch doesn't make Amazon's ‘HQ2’ finalists list

Huntington Beach-Long Beach pitch doesn't make Amazon's ‘HQ2’ finalists list
Huntington Beach officials submitted a custom surfboard last fall as part of a joint proposal with Long Beach to host Amazon’s planned second headquarters. Huntington Beach-Long Beach ultimately didn’t appear on the company’s list of finalists. (Courtesy of city of Huntington Beach)

A joint proposal from the cities of Huntington Beach and Long Beach to be the home of Amazon's second headquarters isn't on the company's list of finalists.

The cities' proposal was among 238 the Seattle-based retail giant received from throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Twenty finalists were announced Thursday.

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Amazon has said it expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction for its "HQ2" and accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs there.

Huntington Beach City Manager Fred Wilson said Thursday afternoon that even though his city didn't make the top 20, "I think in the long run, the high-level visibility of our proposal will serve as a launching pad for other high-tech companies who may want to make Huntington Beach home. Proximity to the largest port complex in the nation, three airports, a multitude of transportation services, various housing options, diverse communities and perfect year-round weather still make us a good choice for big business."

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The finalists on the list are Los Angeles; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; Toronto; Washington; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; Nashville; Newark, N.J.; Columbus, Ohio; northern Virginia and Maryland's Montgomery County.

Amazon did not elaborate on why the 20 places made the list.

Among the proposals not on the list were plans to put the headquarters in Irvine or Santa Ana.

Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner congratulated the remaining contenders, saying in a statement that "I particularly want to wish Los Angeles, one of the finalists, all the best."

"The entire Southern California region would benefit by the selection of Los Angeles, and we offer our cooperation to Mayor [Eric] Garcetti and his team as the bids move forward," Wagner said.

However, Bryan Starr, president and chief executive of the Greater Irvine Chamber, wasn't willing to give up hope just yet for his city or others in the region.

"Amazon shortlisting 'Los Angeles' doesn't necessarily mean the city of Los Angeles," he said in an email Thursday afternoon. "While Irvine was not specifically mentioned, there is a very good possibility we are still in the running because of the way Amazon identified its selections; they identified regions by using Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). Irvine is part of the Los Angeles/Orange County MSA.

"I don't think we can rule other L.A./O.C. cities out."

The Huntington Beach-Long Beach plan, announced in October, was dubbed "Amazon Coast" by "HBLB."

It pitched one site in Huntington and two in Long Beach.

In Surf City, officials suggested using the Boeing Co. land at 5301 Bolsa Ave. They noted how the property, which they nicknamed "Amazon Sand," had roughly 175 acres, more than 300,000 square feet of existing facilities and the potential for 5.4 million buildable square feet.

The city submitted a surfboard by local shaper Bob "The Greek" Bolen with the proposal.

Long Beach offered space in three downtown buildings and at former Boeing property next to Long Beach Airport.

Each city's visitors bureau and InterTrend Communications, a Long Beach-based advertising agency, created the Amazon Coast pitch.

When Amazon issued its request for a proposal from bidders, the company said it would give priority to areas with more than 1 million people that are within 45 minutes of an international airport.

Amazon also said it's looking for an area with a "highly educated labor pool" and a "strong university system."

Los Angeles Times staff writer James F. Peltz contributed to this report.

Twitter: @BradleyZint

UPDATES:

4:30 p.m.: This article was updated with Fred Wilson's comments.

3:15 p.m.: This article was updated with Bryan Starr's comments.

This article was originally published at 11:15 a.m.

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