On Thursday, Denver was selected as one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, known as “HQ2.” The Seattle-based tech giant—one of the largest employers in the United States—received 238 proposals this fall and narrowed the list to 20 this week based on criteria that included a metro area with at least one million people, access to an international airport, established public transportation systems, and the capacity to accommodate 50,000 new employees. Denver is one of only four finalists west of the Mississippi River, indicating Amazon’s preference for metro areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and the South. The full list of finalists is below:
Los Angeles, Calif.
Montgomery County, Md.
New York, N.Y.
In September, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) partnered with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to submit a proposal for the metro Denver region—the only proposal made from Colorado. Details of that proposal were confidential at the time, but Gov. John Hickenlooper said in October that eight potential locations (none of which have been revealed) were submitted as part of the bid. And a joint records request made by Denver7 and the Denver Post in November showed that the proposal touted the region’s colleges and universities, emphasizing the growth of Denver’s young, educated workforce.
“We’re eagerly excited and cautiously optimistic,” says Sam Bailey, vice president of economic development for Metro Denver EDC. Bailey says Amazon reached out early this morning to notify his team that Denver was a finalist, and says that Metro Denver EDC is trying to set up a phone call with Amazon for tomorrow or early next week to discuss the process’s next steps. He also noted that the specifics of Denver’s proposal will likely remain confidential out of concern for the land owners and developers involved. Asked whether the abundance of finalists on the East Coast has his team worried, Bailey says that they are “not discouraged,” noting that more population centers exist in the eastern portion of the country.
In announcing the 20 finalists, Amazon noted that it “will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information as necessary, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate our hiring plans as well as benefit our employees and the local community.” Amazon offered no additional details on when they expect to select a location, saying only “we expect to make a decision in 2018.”