The hunt for Amazon’s second headquarters has reached a new fever pitch now that the company has unveiled the 20 finalists still in consideration to become the online retailer’s new home. After reviewing no fewer than 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the tech giant has narrowed down its list, with some obvious tech-friendly choices, and some surprises as well.
In an apparent effort to move away from the already startup-saturated West Coast of the U.S. (Los Angeles was the only California city to make the cut), Amazon has mostly selected finalists in the middle of the country and the East Coast. There are cities like New York and Boston, which plenty of tech companies call home, as well as places like Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana, which are a little more off the beaten path — at least when it comes to tech hubs.
All finalists, however, meet Amazon’s requirements of having a metropolitan area, a population of more than one million, and the capacity to both attract and retain technical experience. All but one of the finalists are in the U.S. — the only exception is Toronto.
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, 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.”
As Amazon looks to narrow its selection even further, the company will be working with each of the 20 finalists to take a closer look at their proposals and request additional information. The company will also have to determine how well the target city can aid in Amazon’s hiring push, and how well Amazon can benefit the local community.
Of course, with an investment of $5 billion in this new headquarters and the promise of as many as 50,000 “high-paying jobs,” it certainly seems as though the ecommerce behemoth will be bringing plenty to whichever city it ultimately chooses as its new home. Amazon has stressed that HQ2 won’t serve as a simple satellite office, but rather a complete headquarters. The building process alone is expected to add tens of thousands of jobs, and Amazon has pledged to invest tens of billions of dollars in the surrounding community as part of the project.
In any case, we’ll know soon enough who the lucky winner of the HQ2 competition will be. Amazon is slated to make a final decision sometime within 2018.