After submissions from 238 cities, plenty of prognosticating, and a plethora of ridiculous campaigns to woo Jeff Bezos, Amazon has announced the finalists for its second North American quarters, known as HQ2—and Austin is among the top contenders.
The Austin area is on a shortlist of 20 diverse sites throughout the U.S. and Canada, many of which are major cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C., Miami, Denver, New York City, and Boston all made the cut, as did more surprising choices such as Columbus, Ohio, and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Amazon claims that its new headquarters could create as many as 50,000 jobs for whichever city it lands in, along with billions of dollars of investment—the company asserts that “every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle [where its first HQ is located] generated an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall.” HQ2, which could encompass up to 8 million square feet, is expected to cost about $5 billion to build.
The tech giant’s next step will be to work with candidate locations to take a closer look at their proposals, “request additional information as necessary, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate our hiring plans as well as benefit our employees and the local community,” according to its recent statement naming finalists. The company plans to make its decision this year.