E-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday unveiled a shortlist of 20 locations for its planned second headquarters, with the Canadian city of Toronto figuring on the list.
The finalists, chosen from among 238 places that applied in October, include New York, Boston and Chicago, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Three metropolitan Washington, D.C., sites made the cut, while Toronto was the only non-US city on the list. Some surprise candidates included Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis.
The unveiling of the shortlist sets the stage for the next phase of what has emerged as one of the fiercest competitions for corporate investment in decades, the Journal noted.
Amazon, which plans to make a final decision this year, said it plans to invest more than US$5 billion on the second headquarters and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
The promise of those benefits has triggered a bidding war among applicants as cities and regions across North America.
The 20 contenders announced Thursday are expected to jockey on everything from office location to billions of dollars in tax incentives to lure Amazon.
Amazon’s team narrowed the list using pre-announced criteria that included a metro area with more than one million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, a location where it can attract and keep tech talent and communities that think big when it comes to locations and real estate.
The tech giant used data-driven analysis to drill into additional factors, for example gauging the relationship between a market’s rate of growth and a prospective employee’s willingness to move there, the Journal cited a source as saying.
A key consideration is that the city has enough tech talent to fill thousands of jobs. The quality of the proposal also factored into Thursday’s selections, helping to elevate some of the dark-horse candidates, the report said.
A wild card in the selection process may be incentives, something that could help Amazon recoup its hefty spending on the new site.
Among the contenders, New Jersey state had pitched a potential US$7 billion in tax incentives.
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