Amazon Inc. announced on Thursday that it had dramatically cut down the list of potential cities for their newest headquarters. The second shipping hub now is looking at 20 cities that remain, and Boston made the list due to being a technology powerhouse, the New York Times reports.
Called HQ2, the new facility will cost approximately $5 billion to construct and operate and could create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
Before dwindling down to 20, the original list consisted of 238 cities.
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of economic development. “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.”
In an email to WBUR, an Amazon spokesperson said the selected location is the “Boston metro area,” and that proposals from Boston and Somerville managed to make it to the next phase.
The city’s bid is focused on Suffolk Downs, the former racetrack in East Boston. Somerville’s bid is a multi-city proposal along the MBTA, starting in Boston. The city also considered possible collaborations with “local universities and its proximity to the MBTA and Logan Airport,” CBS reports.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he’s “proud that Boston is on Amazon’s shortlist” while speaking at an event Thursday. Walsh also said he found out that Boston made the cut in an email directly from Amazon.
Walsh feels Amazon is “pretty serious” about his Boston as a possible second headquarters location.
“In the conversations we’ve had with Amazon about other opportunities, Boston seems to be a place that’s really exciting for them and intriguing to them,” Walsh said.
He plans to reach out to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to hold a meeting to assess the bids from the other finalists.
Governor Charlie Baker’s office said it was notified separately about the Boston and Somerville bids moving forward in a comment on Thursday.
The list seems to sway towards the Midwest, South, and East Coast, almost avoiding the West Coast completely. Next to Boston, you can find cities such as Chicago, Nashville, Denver, Miami, Newark, and more.
Finalists such as Dallas, Denver, Raleigh, and Washington were thought to be “shoo-ins” since the original announcement of the search. They accurately fitted what Amazon was looking for; a location near a metropolitan area with a population larger than one million.
Other cities that remain were more unexpected; Miami and Nashville, cities that aren’t usually considered to be a technology center for the nation.
Los Angeles managed to make the list as the only city on the West Coast, which many believe is due to the large population. Considering Amazon’s headquarters is located in Seattle, the move to focus elsewhere was expected.
“In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community,” the company stated.