On Thursday, Jan. 18, Amazon released the shortlist of prospective locations for its second headquarters. The list is made up of 20 locations including major hubs like New York and Chicago, along with surprising locations like Columbus, Montgomery County, and Maryland.
The list moves away from the West Coast of the United States, and concentrates on the East Coast, Midwest, and South. Los Angeles is the lone West Coast city to make the cut.
Los Angeles, California
Montgomery County, Maryland
Newark, New Jersey
Raleigh, North Carolina.
Typical choices include the tech hubs of Austin, Denver, and Raleigh. Amazon made some surprise decisions in their list, Washington, D.C. suburb, Montgomery County made the list. Just like Northern Virginia, it is one of the most affluent counties in the country. It also boasts one of the highest percentages of residents with postgraduate degrees. That makes it one of three areas in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.
Amazon's process for determining a location created a bidding war among cities in North America. Cities in Canada, Mexico, and even Puerto Rico applied to host the new headquarters — the reward for the winner would be 50,000 jobs.
Amazon listened to the pitches of cities. Some were bending over backward to attract the tech giant's second home. Calgary said that it was willing to fight a bear to get the headquarters. Birmingham, Alabama erected three large replicas of Amazon delivery boxes.
In more serious bids, Delaware offered Amazon the biggest tax deal in the history of the state. Des Moines, Iowa — who didn't meet the cut off based on its population that's lower than 1 million people — applied to the headquarters. It had previously given Apple tax breaks for building a data center in the city.
One of the more unlikely locations to submit a bid was Puerto Rico. The island is still ravaged by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some parts of Puerto Rico are still lacking electricity. Leaders still managed to make a pitch to Amazon. Even before the hurricane, its economy was in shambles.
Amazon cut its list down from more than 238 cities.