Amazon Narrows HQ2 List to 20

photo: Robert Scoble

Amazon has winnowed down the sites for its second headquarters to 19 cities and metropolitan areas in the U.S. and one in Canada, in Toronto. The sites are primarily in the eastern part of the country, far from Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. The finalists are New York City, Newark, N.J., Boston, Philadelphia, three sites in and near Washington, D.C., Chicago, two in Texas (Austin and Dallas), as well as Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, Nashville, Raleigh, N.C., Atlanta and Miami. The only site on the West Coast is Los Angeles, and the only site in the Rockies is Denver.

Amazon has said it wanted to locate HQ2 in an area that has a population of at least a million and that would be attractive to tech talent. It said it will make the final decision sometime this year.

Some 238 locations had applied last year to Amazon to be considered for the HQ2 project, which the company has said will include 50,000 jobs with an average pay of more than $100,000 a year and $5 billion in construction spending. In addition, Amazon has said that its "direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

But, as is its tradition, Amazon seeks a range of breaks and gifts. In its RFP, the company asked bidders to "identify incentive programs available for the project at the state/province and local levels. Outline the type of incentive (i.e., land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, relocation grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, permitting, and fee reductions) and the amount." It has promised to "work with" the final 20 sites on details....

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