When Amazon announced plans to build a second headquarters, the tech giant solicited bids from across North America. 238 cities submitted proposals, including places that had no real chance at landing the bid. (See: Gary, Indiana.)

Now Amazon has announced their 20 finalists, and there aren’t that many surprises on the list.

Finalists as follows:

– 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.

At the time of the original bids, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Denver all seemed like logical options, while Raleigh and Austin also received plaudits from various experts. From the release:

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “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.”

If you’re wondering why so many communities are battling to attract Amazon:

Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite office. The company plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. In addition to Amazon’s 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.

If the race were handicapped now, how would it look? Denver, Austin, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh all make a lot of sense, for a variety of reasons. That Los Angeles is the only West Coast city likely means Amazon wants to expand its geographic footprint outward from its current Seattle headquarters.

And the inclusion of cities like Indianapolis and Columbus could point to Amazon being interested in being a city’s main attraction, from a business standpoint; wherever they go they’ll obviously be a massive focal point, but places like Chicago, New York City, and Boston all have plenty of other global headquarters.

If forced to give odds, Denver, Austin, and Atlanta still seem like very good bets, for a variety of reasons. But Amazon must have had a reason to include 20 finalists, instead of 10, or 15; it’s fair to assume any of the cities remaining has a nonzero chance to become home to HQ2. (Or, you know, Amazon just wants to dominate headlines in as many markets as possible for as long as possible, while leveraging as many different tax breaks against each other to ensure the very best deal from the place they already know they’re going. Business!)


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.