Amazon shortlists 20 cities for its new US$5b HQ after fierce competition

New York, Chicago, Miami and Toronto are among contenders vying for Amazon’s second corporate seat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 11:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 9:57am Inc. narrowed the field of cities for its proposed new headquarters to 20, with New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami and Austin, Texas, among the contenders.

Seattle-based Amazon solicited proposals in September for its second corporate seat, a project that is expected to cost more than US$5 billion and create 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.

The craziest proposals for Amazon’s new headquarters

Politicians across the US and Canada eagerly expressed interest. The company received proposals from 238 locations, including from smaller markets like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Memphis, Tennessee. The company plans to make a decision this year and will continue discussions with the finalists, it said in a statement Thursday.

The list reveals little in terms of geographic preferences, with finalists on both coasts and the heartland. Amazon found it difficult to engage with so many applicants and had to whittle the list to enter the next phase of evaluation.

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, of Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement.

“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.”

Whichever city gets chosen will be transformed by Amazon, setting in motion a building boom and rising rents. The company has already changed the character of its native Seattle.

High paying tech jobs can permanently transform a region and raise the political prospects of the leader who helped seal the deal.

Amazon’s advertising push will not threaten Google’s business

Amazon has said its preferences for the site include a metropolitan location with a population of more than 1 million, mass transit, proximity to an international flight hub and the potential to retain and attract technical talent.

The finalist cities are:

Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; New York; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, North Carolina; Toronto; Washington