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Amazon requests silence in HQ2 search, according to leaked details

Aaron Aupperlee
| Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, 5:18 p.m.
This file photo taken on Dec. 11, 2014, shows the logo of the online retailer Amazon displayed on computer screens in London.
AFP/Getty Images
This file photo taken on Dec. 11, 2014, shows the logo of the online retailer Amazon displayed on computer screens in London.

Amazon wants the next phase of its search for a second headquarters to proceed in secret, without updates to the public, the company told one of the 20 finalists on a conference call.

Despite a plea for silence, details about what might be next for Pittsburgh and the other top cities leaked out of the call Monday between Amazon and official working on Newark's bid, according to ROI, a New Jersey business news website .

The story quotes a person familiar with what was said during the conference who requested anonymity.

“They gave the indication that they wanted the public discourse to stop,” the anonymous source was quoted as saying.

Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, a member of Pittsburgh's team working on the Amazon bid, wouldn't say whether there has been a call with Pittsburgh officials and said that the team would not share any information about communications it has with Amazon.

PGHQ2, the team working on the bid, has refused to release the bid or any details about it. Public record requests under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law have been denied. Pennsylvania Community & Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin told PennLive last week the incentive package offered by the state may be among the largest ever .

Amazon on Thursday announced the top 20 cities or regions still in the running for its second headquarters. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia made the list . As many as 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment are at stake.

According to the Newark source, Amazon will send the 20 finalists a second, more specific request for proposals by the end of the week. This document will not be public. Amazon's initial RFP was posted here .

Amazon officials also said they will visit each of the 20 finalists, and the visit will not be public, the source told ROI.

This story has been updated to more accurately reflect comments Department of Community and Economic Development Director Dennis Davin made to PennLive.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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