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D.C. Paid $140K To Create Amazon HQ2 Proposal, Still Won't Disclose Incentives Offered

A rendering of the proposed Amazon HQ2 site on the Anacostia Riverfront, including parcels in Capitol Riverfront, Buzzard Point and Poplar Point

D.C. is still keeping quiet on the incentives package it offered Amazon in its HQ2 bid, but new documents shed light on how much the District paid to create its proposal. 

The documents, obtained by data journalist Kate Rabinowitz through a Freedom of Information Act request, show D.C. paid $140K to a marketing firm to design and help promote its Amazon HQ2 proposal, Washingtonian reports

The District had originally signed a $99,800 contract with Mars on Gravity Productions, including $38K for a website, $21,200 for promotional videos, $20,600 for a marketing campaign and $17K for the proposal itself. The District then needed to make revisions and additions to the materials, adding about $37K to its bill. D.C.'s publicly released proposal included four sites along the Anacostia River, in NoMa, in Shaw and in Hill East, but no mention of the associated costs or incentives it is offering. 

Rabinowitz, who has used FOIA to obtain documents from several cities, said D.C.'s marketing bill was by far the largest she has seen. The next closest was Miami, which spent $70K, and she said many cities did not have marketing budgets for the proposal. 

D.C. has denied FOIA requests from WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle seeking to learn the amount of incentives it offered Amazon in its bid. Maryland has reportedly prepared an incentives package measured in the billions of dollars. Chicago and Philadelphia have each offered more than $1B in incentives, while Newark, New Jersey, offered $7B for the $5B project.

Amazon has said the headquarters would create 50,000 jobs and occupy 8M SF. Amazon received 238 submissions from 54 states, providences and districts across North America and said it would make its decision in 2018.