As the high-profile bidding war to host Amazon's second headquarters enters the final stages, one region seems to have an edge over the more than 200 cities and counties that initially expressed interest.
On Thursday, the company said it had narrowed down the list to 20 locations. Based the criteria Amazon identified when it kicked off the bidding last year, the Washington, D.C., area appears to be well-positioned. But it will have to knock off a few other strong contenders, including Austin, Texas.
To get the bidding started in September, Amazon promised to invest more than $5 billion and hire 50,000 people for its new headquarters, which it says will rival its sprawling Seattle campus in size and scope. In its request for proposals, Amazon pointed to its Seattle headquarters as a sign of what it could bring to a new host city. Its workforce has grown to more than 380,000 from less than 25,000 since it moved to downtown Seattle in 2010, the company said.
In return, some 238 state and local governments lined up to offer generous tax benefits and other incentives.
"Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," Holly Sullivan, an executive at Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement.