Amazon AMZN announced on Thursday that it had officially narrowed the list of candidates for its second headquarters down to 20, eliminating the vast majority of the reported 238 applicants and bringing the remaining cities one step closer to the 50,000 jobs promised by the e-commerce behemoth.
Amazon has released its short list of cities for a second headquarters. The internet giant says it to expects to create 50,000 high-paying jobs and invest over $5 billion in the winning city. Here’s the full list:
- Austin, Texas
- Columbus, Ohio
- Los Angeles
- Montgomery County, Md.
- Newark, N.J.
- New York City
- Northern Virginia
- Raleigh, N.C.
- Washington, D.C.
Of course, what they didn’t tell you is what kind of tax incentives are being offered to get Amazon to these cities.
The AP reported, some officials would not disclose their Amazon offers in order to maintain a competitive edge over other applicants.
Several locations have revealed lucrative incentives for the $600 billion company.
According to the AP, New Jersey offered Amazon $7 billion in tax breaks, Houston offered $268 million and Boston put forward a proposal that included $75 million for housing for Amazon workers.
Chicago declined to reveal any details about its proposal, saying it “could give an advantage to another applicant”. That same message, of course, was echoed by Charlotte, N.C.
Texas cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin responded to the AP’s information requests by asking the state attorney general if they were legally required to disclose the financial details of their offers.
Other cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando, Florida and Louisville, Kentucky declined to provide information to the AP.
Cities originally submitted their bids in late October, Fortune turned to a popular betting site to see which of the more than 200 candidates had the early edge.
Fast forward to 2018, and the initial favorite—Atlanta—is still at the top of the list, but its chances have declined from 2/1 to 3/1 and it now shares the perch with southern rival, Austin, Texas.
The three leading cities or candidates include, Atlanta, Austin and Boston. These are not a surprise since they all possess many criteria Amazon is seeking. Criteria that includes a tech savvy workforce and urban amenities. Of course, many do think it’s unlikely that Amazon will add a second headquarters to the West coast.
“Amazon has picked a bunch of winners,” said Richard Florida, an economic development expert and professor at the University of Toronto who helped develop that city’s bid. “It really reflects winner-take-all urbanism.”
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough,” said Holly Sullivan, who oversees Amazon’s public policy. “All the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity.”
“It’s hard to say whether all these places are in play or Amazon wanted to encourage continued competition,” Jed Kolko, chief economist at job site Indeed said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether locations would be able to change their proposals or offer better incentives, but said in a statement that it will “work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals.”
State and local governments played up the amenities they think make their locations the best choice. Some pulled off stunts to stand out, such as New York, which lit up the Empire State Building with the Amazon orange color.
Amazon had stipulated that it wanted to be near a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, and nearly all of those on the shortlist have a metro population of at least double that.
Amazon also wanted to be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand the headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.
Holy cow! That is one massive size building. To put it into a little perspective Chicago’s Sears Tower or now known as Willis Tower is 4.5 million square feet.
According to Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters, and the second home base will be “a full equal” to it.
Amazon is a rapidly growing company. It had nearly 542,000 employees at the end of September; that was a 77 percent jump from the year before.
Looks like we will just have to wait and see which city snags the lucky honor of having Amazon’s 2nd HQ.
A final selection will be made sometime this year.
I’m guessing Atlanta? What say you?