Amazon said it chose from among 238 submissions and will work with each location in the coming months to dig deeper into the proposals and plans to make a decision by the end of the year.
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon public policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”
The stakes are high. The online giant envisions its HQ2 as a complete headquarters — not a satellite office. The winning location would gain 50,000 high-paying jobs, not including the tens of thousands of additional positions created in the surrounding community.
Amazon said it was looking for a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, with a business-friendly environment and a location that would be a lure for attracting and keeping talent.
Los Angeles was the only West Coast city selected. California Gov. Jerry Brown likely helped enhance the city’s appeal with the offer of tax breaks and other incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars should Amazon choose the California for its second home.
“The Golden State is home to the best universities and research institutions in the world, a uniquely qualified and talented workforce and the most dynamic combination of innovation and investment on the planet,” Brown said a pitch letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “ … Put simply: there is no better place for a business like yours to continue to grow.”
Many speculated that the Seattle-based company would prefer an East Coast locale. Indeed, the majority of finalists are concentrated on the other side of the Mississippi: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Washington, D.C. Toronto is the only finalist outside the United States.