Amazon announces top 20 cities for HQ2

Amazon HQ finalists

The shortlist for Amazon's (AMZN) second headquarters is out, with the online retail giant releasing a list of the top 20 contenders on Thursday.

"Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," Holly Sullivan of 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."

Seattle-based Amazon said it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

The List: 

Amazon's planned 2nd headquarters spurs unique bidding war

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Washington, D.C.

The announcement came the day after tech titan Apple (AAPL) said it will build a second corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers in a $350 billion, five-year commitment to the U.S. economy. The company has not announced a chosen city; Apple's main headquarters is in Cupertino, Calif.

Amazon kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend up to $5 billion. Proposals from cities, states and regions were due last week, and Amazon made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big deciding factor on where it chooses to land.

The company has said the second headquarters, dubbed "HQ2," will be a full equal to its Seattle home. 

Leaders in Pennsylvania hailed the inclusion of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the list of finalists. Gov. Tom Wolf said he wasn't surprised, given Pennsylvania's location in the heart of the East Coast along with its nationally ranked educational institutions and a workforce "equipped to support future growth."

"Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have a real shot, and we will continue to support these locations by making the case to Amazon that Pennsylvania is a unique and tremendous place to build a business, make a home, and pursue your happiness," Wolf said.

Officials in some metro areas that didn't make the cut expressed disappointment.

"New Hampshire's groundbreaking proposal to recruit Amazon was the most comprehensive business marketing plan our state has ever produced," Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. "While we always knew that our bid was considered a long shot, we are excited that it is already serving as a template for other businesses that now have New Hampshire on their radar."     

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New Hampshire's Amazon proposal was centered in Londonderry and emphasized the state's lack of a sales or income tax.

Memphis, Tennessee, Mayor Jim Strickland said the state "gave it out best shot," while expressing confidence that the process will help it attract other businesses.

The city offered Amazon $60 million in cash incentives.