Two hundred thirty-eight cities and regions in North America have submitted proposals to Amazon to become the location of the company’s second headquarters. It was an overwhelming response to Amazon’s announcement last month that they were looking to build a second headquarters, to be called Amazon HQ2, to supplement their current Seattle location. The 238 proposals came from 54 states, several Canadian provinces, and three cities in Mexico.
Amazon promises to invest more than $5 billion and provide 50,000 jobs in the winning location. But they’re also looking for cities to provide huge incentives and enticements.
Some applicants getting creative in order to stand out. Newark and the state of New Jersey did it with money, offering $7 billion in incentives and tax credits. Tucson, Ariz., sent a package to Amazon with a 21-foot-tall cactus, and Stonecrest, Ga., near Atlanta, offered to create a new city called “Amazon” on industrial property.
While there was a stampede of applicants, a few states chose not to bid: North Dakota, South Dakota, Hawaii, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming, and Vermont. Arkansas, home of Amazon’s arch-rival, Walmart, had no interest in cooperating, and the other states either felt they had no chance or just were not interested in disrupting their lifestyle.
Amazon’s request for bids are not going over well with everyone, with some skeptical that the cities will come out ahead based on past deals with corporations and sports teams being paid to relocate or not move away.
And others call attention to the skyrocketing rents, clogged highways, and increased homelessness in Seattle, due in large part to Amazon and its 40,000 workers occupying nearly 20 percent of the Class A office space in the heart of the city.
So, which cities are most likely to be selected? I reviewed analyses from Recode, Fortune, and Business Insider, who each picked their favorites and came up with the most frequently mentioned choices.
The final selection will be based on finding a location that is near to a major airport and has a well-developed infrastructure that includes office space, universities, and transportation, as well as a reasonable cost of living and affordable housing. And, most importantly, one that offers Amazon huge financial subsidies and incentives.
In the lead, says Recode, are Austin, Denver, and Chicago, large cities with good infrastructures and affordable housing. Other candidates they selected include Atlanta, Raleigh, Boston, Dallas, Baltimore, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Columbus, Charlotte, Kansas City, Mo., Pittsburgh, Sacramento, St, Louis, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Tulsa.
Fortune consulted Everest Group, a Dallas research firm, which predicted that the city selected will need to have a population of at least four million. Their top candidates are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C.
Business Insider favored Salt Lake City, Boston, Portland Ore., Miami, New York/New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Austin.
The cities that are most likely selections, based on appearing on multiple lists include Austin, Boston Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta,
Then there’s Paddy Power, an Irish betting site, that has Atlanta with odds at 2-to-1, Austin 3-1, Boston 6-1, Dallas at 16-1, and Toronto at 7 to 1.
Whichever city is selected, you can be sure it will alter the face of the city just as it’s done with Seattle.