It’s been 14 months since Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, declared its intention to build a second headquarters. Founded in Seattle some 23 years earlier, Amazon said it had gotten so big that it needed a second home base in another city.
The company’s year-long selection process had a decidedly sweepstakes-like feel to it. Amazon laid out its expectations for what it wanted in a second hometown and promised a bonanza of 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment to whichever lucky city it picked.
City governments and officials scrambled to outdo each other and woo the online retailer, dangling tax breaks, exemptions of all types and even promises to change their names.
Now, Amazon has reportedly zeroed in on New York City and Virginia— and “HQ2” will likely actually be two separate offices. The move, which has yet to be confirmed by Amazon, has left a sour taste with some people who accuse Amazon of having deviously gamed the system.
Here’s a look at the sequence of events during Amazon’s controversial “HQ2” adventure, and the strange spectacle that Amazon whipped up in the process.