Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKennzie, donated $ 33 million to a college scholarship program for young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

SAN FRANCISCO – The East Coast beat the West Coast in the second Amazon sweepstakes.

The online retail giant announced the finalists for its call HQ2 on Thursday, a surprisingly long list of 20 cities and states eliminated from an unwieldy 238 that began the process.

Nearly two dozen now fold to compete for a capital investment of $ 5 billion and 50,000 new technology-oriented jobs.

But that's not all. According to Amazon's own calculations based on the impact that its Seattle HQ had in that city between 2010 and 2016, the new headquarters promises to add $ 38 billion to the local economy, create 53,000 non-Amazon jobs and increase Personal income of non-employees of Amazon for $ 17 billion.

The 20 finalists met Amazon's parameters that their HQ2 be in a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, have a "stable and business-friendly environment" and be in "urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain "strong technical talent. "

More: Amazon names the top 20 finalists in the second venue

Analysts forecast that the most successful city would need to have at least 4 million residents to reach the scale that Amazon seeks and obtains the required software talent it needs Some warn that having Amazon in the city is not for weak people

"In the short term, they will need technological talent and cultural amenities to attract them , but in the long run they & # 39; They will need space to grow, the infrastructure to move people around cities and places where they can afford to live, says Jeffrey Shulman, a marketing professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, who studied Amazon's impact on the city.

Shulman argues that some of the cities on the list are too small to be able to comfortably embrace HQ2: "The last thing you want is for a city to break trying to build the roads, public services and schools that Amazon will need."

But that concern did not stop hundreds of cities here and in Canada and Mexico from sending very detailed love letters to Amazon.

Many of the past contenders legitimately had an opportunity (such as the state of Utah, increasingly knowledgeable about technology) while others hit well above their weight (Woonsocket, Rhode Island, is the headquarters of CVS Health, but there are only 41,000 citizens in the city, according to a 2010 Census).

Many of the successful finalists seemed to sell Amazon in a winning combination of available talent (particularly in the software / IT space), infrastructure (otherwise, adding 50,000 new employees could mean a bottleneck), community environment (presumably one which is consistent with its northwest Pacific roots) and financial incentives.

Following is a quick look at the strengths and potential drawbacks of some of the remaining HQ2 contenders:

Columbus, Ohio

Four Ohio cities submitted offers, but only Columbus made the cut. It has Ohio State, a major university and at least 15 other four-year universities within 40 miles; At least one third of the population has a bachelor's degree. The city already supports 20,000 employees, JPMorgan Chase, a sign that the region can support a large company. Surprising to some, Yelp nicknamed Columbus one of the "most modern fashion markets" of the past year.

Possible negative : tornadoes and blizzards.

Dallas-Ft. Worth

The heart of Texas offering included more than 30 possible sites in and around Dallas, whose advantages include affordable housing for employees, universities that produce talent and lack of state income taxes. Some reports indicated that Amazon could be offered the place currently reserved for the Texas Rangers stadium, since the team is scheduled to move in the next few years.

Possible negative : Rival and state capital Austin is brimming with a hip and techy vibe.


Known in large part by the University of Texas and its fertile music scene, Austin can add center technology to its resume, thanks to being the host of startups, as well as the great annual technology confab, SXSW. Beyond feeling like a modern version of Texas in Seattle, the capital city also has affordable housing. And do not forget, Austin is the home of Whole Foods, which Amazon has just bought.

Possible refusal : The reports revolve around that Austin could also appeal to Apple for its new announced center.

Los Angeles

Recruiting talent would not be a problem in an area that is home to more than 20 million people, some of whom are graduates of institutions such as Cal-Tech and USC. Possible sites for Amazon's new offices include the former Boeing space in Huntington Beach and the land near the Irvine Spectrum Center and an area in Santa Ana that once housed the Orange County Register.

Possible negative : crushing traffic.


In addition to the sunny climate of South Florida, the proposal highlighted a large amount of land ready for offices, dozens of universities and affordable housing. And Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell issued a challenge to Amazon: come for the diversity of talent. "They will recognize that this is really a starting point not only for South America, but also for Europe and the world," Russell told the Miami Herald.

Possible negative : The public transport system underway in the area.

New York City

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, took a sensible approach in his letter to the CEO of Amazon: "We are the world capital of commerce, culture and innovation." Alright then. And what's more, the offer says that 2.3 million New Yorkers have a bachelor's degree or higher, the city has twice as many technology workers in the Bay Area at 300,000, and it has a blockade in the major Fortune companies. 500 who call the place home. [19659008] Possible negative : in the Big Apple, Amazon suddenly becomes another great company.

Washington, DC

An Amazon headquarters located in the nation's capital would benefit from two immediate advantages: proximity to another powerful institution owned by Bezos, The Washington Post and access to corridors of political power. The area also has an extensive Metro network that can help workers get to HQ2 without having to deal with the notoriously bad congestion of Beltway.

Possible negative : High cost of housing.

Northern Virginia

There are several business and technology areas in the region that could be viable for Amazon, including Tysons Corner and Crystal City. The region also hosts some of the most prosperous counties in the United States. UU., Including Fairfax and Arlington counties. According to The Washington Post Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe supports a plan by proposing an HQ2 site near the Dulles International Airport.

Possible negative : competition from nearby Washington, DC

Montgomery County, Maryland

If you wonder why the last three entries are not consolidated as a contender, you are not alone. This suburb north of the nation's capital can also cite access to the area's subway line, proximity to major universities and some of the nation's richest landowners, such as Bethesda and Rockville.

Possible negative : traffic, housing and competition of D.C.


This midwestern center is increasingly known as a technology magnet, with companies ranging from Salesforce and Angie & # 39; s List calling the state home. Although not much is known about Indy's offer, reports indicate that officials promoted the region's existing technological ecosystem, its growing business climate and its many available real estate sites. Another great advantage: the affordable life compared to some of the other great finalists.

Possible negative : Difficulty attracting technological talent on the coast.


Affordable Housing and Other Quality of Life Problems have already attracted companies like Porsche Cars North America to the area, and reports indicate that Atlanta officials are pushing Amazon hard with financial incentives that could add more of $ 1 billion. A solid-area transportation system adds to the court, as does a 120-acre downtown construction plot called The Gulch.

Possible negative : Lack of extensive public transportation will make traffic a problem.


The Canadian city published its online offer for all to see and it was divided into five sections: talent (commitments to graduate more STEM and AI experts), business climate (national health care and lower rates) taxes mean salary savings), quality of life (urban life mixed with outdoor options), transportation and infrastructure (almost 40% take public transport to work) and sites (10 places were proposed).

Possible negative : President Trump's Amazonian animosity could increase if HQ2 is outside the US UU

The list also includes Boston; Chicago; Denver; Nashville; Newark; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and Raleigh, N.C.

Contributor: Brett Molina

This story is unfolding.

Follow the technological writer of USA TODAY Marco della Cava on Twitter.


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