Amazon's list of 20 finalists for its coveted HQ2 project, announced Thursday, includes some of the most competitive cities in the world—let alone in North America—and data compiled by CNBC bears that out. Now, the already heated battle is likely to turn red hot as the competition moves to a second round.
At stake: a $5 billion facility that will employ 50,000 and boost state coffers by adding billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community over the next 10 to 15 years.
Many of the finalists were thought to be contenders from the start. They include cities CNBC has already visited as we evaluate the bids: Chicago, Columbus, Ohio; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Denver. But three dark horse candidates join the list: Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Toronto. The list includes three locations in and around the nation's capital: Washington, DC; the Northern Virginia suburbs, and Montgomery County, Maryland. The area was already receiving buzz based on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' ownership of the Washington Post.