20 Cities Selected as Amazon HQ2 Finalists

Technology PCmag

Amazon has announced 20 finalists in its search for a second North American headquarters, or "HQ2."

Continue Reading Below

Last September, the company began soliciting proposals from metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people and close access to an international airport. Amazon said HQ2 will bring over $5 billion in construction investments and as many as 50,000 jobs to one lucky city, plus tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in further investment into the surrounding community.

The criteria also calls for "a stable and business-friendly environment," "urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent," and communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options."

Out of 238 proposals, here are the 20 cities that made the cut:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington D.C.

Amazon said it will work with each candidate location in the coming months to dive deeper into their proposals and evaluate "the feasibility of a future partnership" that can accommodate the company's hiring plans. The company expects to make a final decision sometime this year. Once the location is official, Amazon said it will give employees and executives the choice to relocate to HQ2 or stay in Seattle.

Continue Reading Below

According to Amazon's estimates, the company's investments in Seattle from 2010-2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy. However, the finalist cities should also be wary of the potential "Amazonia" effect Seattle has experienced: skyrocketing rent prices, increased traffic, prolonged construction, etc.

There's a lot to unpack here. The geographic distribution isn't too surprising. Los Angeles is the only finalist on the West Coast, where Amazon already has its global headquarters in Seattle. Aside from Austin, Denver, and Dallas, the lion's share of candidates fall on the eastern seaboard and in the Midwest. One surprise here is Toronto, giving Canada a very outside chance of landing HQ2.

Last fall we proposed a few potential fits for HQ2...most of which Amazon did not end up selecting. We did get a few right, identifying Dallas-Fort Worth and Pittsburgh as worthy suitors. We got close in North Carolina and Ohio, too, though we predicted Cincinnati (not Columbus) and Charlotte (not Raleigh). Odds are still better than not that HQ2 will end up somewhere in the Northeast, but we wouldn't rule out a Midwest or southern contender.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.