Amazon releases finalists for HQ2; Utah didn’t make it

Amazon HQ2

SEATTLE - Amazon released its shortlist for HQ2, its second headquarters in North America.

Utah didn't make it. The closest location on the list is Denver.

Val Hale, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development says Salt Lake seemed to lack two key requirements for the giant online retailer.

"Number one, population," Hale said. "All of those cities are much bigger than Utah; and number 2, geographic location. We're pretty close to Seattle. My guess is this will probably wind up someplace on the East Coast."

The company states it expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction and grow the second headquarters  to include as many as 50,000 "high-paying jobs."

Amazon said it expects HQ2 to create "create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

Click here to read more from Amazon.

The 20 potential cities include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County in Maryland, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto and Washington D.C.

Last year, Amazon received bids from 238 cities and regions from across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America. The company said it would make a decision in 2018.

"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."

Amazon said it evaluated each of the bids based on the criteria it previously outlined, such as proximity to a major airport and ability to attract tech talent.

In the coming months, the company said it will work with each of the locations to "dive deeper" into their proposals, obtain more information and evaluate how the city could accommodate Amazon's hiring plans and benefit its workers and the local community.

Cities made splashy attempts to attract the company's attention. For example, Tucson, Arizona sent a giant cactus to CEO Jeff Bezos and Stonecrest, Georgia offered to de-annex some of its land and rename it the city of Amazon.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Mayor Sly James gave five-star reviews to 1,000 random items on Amazon's website, which tied in the city's strengths into each post.

Amazon has said the second headquarters would be a "full equal" to its Seattle campus.

The tech giant estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an extra $38 billion to the city's economy.

40.760779 -111.891047