- Amazon has announced a list of the 20 cities it’s considering for its second headquarters.
- Amazon has promised a $5 billion investment and up to 50,000 high-paying jobs in the city it ultimately chooses.
- We combined seven different rankings to come up with a list of the cities that could be most likely to land Amazon’s HQ2.
Amazon announced its shortlist of the North American cities that are still in the running for its second headquarters on Thursday. Though 238 states, cities, and regions submitted bids, only 20 metros made the final cut.
The company has promised a $5 billion investment and says HQ2 will bring 50,000 jobs, making it one of the largest corporate-civic giveaways in modern American history.
Before Amazon made its official announcement, several news outlets and analysts made their own predictions about the top contenders. Business Insider looked at seven rankings, which included ones from Moody’s Analytics, Sperling’s BestPlaces, Everest Group, The New York Times, CityLab, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. We then noted how many times each city appeared on these lists and its position, giving each list equal weight.
With that, we arrived at a final ranking of Amazon’s short list of cities for its HQ2.
16. Los Angeles, California and Indianapolis, Indiana
Neither Los Angeles nor Indianapolis appeared on any of the rankings we looked at. For that reason, both cities rank at the bottom of our list.
15. Columbus, Ohio
- Always Shooting/Flickr
Appears in: CNBC (C- ranking)
Columbus only appeared on one ranking. CNBC considered it jointly with Cleveland, Ohio, and Cincinnati, Ohio. To achieve its final score, CNBC gave the cities an A+ ranking for population, but an F ranking for stability and talent.
14. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Appears in: Sperling’s (12), CityLab
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gone out of his way to create a favorable climate for tech companies,” CityLab wrote, adding “Toronto has a large amount of developable space in the urban core.”
13. A tie between Miami, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee
Miami appears in: Moody’s (7), NYT (3rd tier)
Nashville appears in: WSJ (8), CNBC (B-)
“Amazon is a logistics behemoth, and Miami is a leading distribution center – Miami International is the nation’s second busiest airport as ranked by metric tonnes of international freight and PortMiami is the only East Coast port south of Virginia capable of docking the largest ships that can navigate through the recently expanded Panama Canal,” Moody’s wrote.
12. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Jim Young/Reuters
Appears in: Moody’s (4), Sperling’s (11)
“While somewhat under the radar, Pittsburgh has already been growing as a destination for tech companies. Uber recently launched its autonomous vehicle research institute in Pittsburgh, which it staffed with Carnegie Mellon engineers and scientists, and Amazon is already expanding its footprint in the city,” Moody’s wrote.
11. Newark, New Jersey
- Spencer Platt / Getty
Appears in: WSJ (10), CNBC (D+), and Moody’s (6)
“The state of New Jersey and the city have promised a potential $7 billion in incentives if Newark is picked,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.
10. Raleigh, North Carolina
- Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Appears in: CNBC (B), Sperlings (10), NYT (3rd tier)
“The three largest metropolitan areas in the Tar Heel State, each submitting bids, [including Raleigh] benefit from a state with one of the best workforces in the country and a heritage of innovation dating back to the Wright Brothers,” CNBC wrote.
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Appears in: CNBC (D+), Moody’s (3), Moody’s (4)
“Overall the upsides in Philly outweigh the downsides. Amazon would be coming to the city at exactly the right moment: A boom is under way but is not so far along that the city is now expensive,” Moody’s wrote.
8. Chicago, Illinois
- Pete Spiro/Shutterstock
Appears in: WSJ (5), Everest, Sperlings (3), CNBC (D+)
“Illinois is offering $2.25 billion in tax breaks and incentives for Amazon to locate at one of 10 sites in the Chicago area. The package is worth even more if the company builds on state-owned land being offered,” CNBC wrote.
7. Dallas, Texas
Appears in: Everest, Sperlings (7), NYT (2nd tier), WSJ (1)
“Texas has no state-income tax, and that helps the tax rank for Dallas,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.
6. New York City, New York
Appears in: CNBC (D), Moody’s (5), Sperlings (9), Everest
“Why does New York have such a large tech labor force? Because 8.5 million people live in the city,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.
5. Denver, Colorado
Appears in: CityLab, WSJ (6), Sperlings (8), NYT (top pick), CNBC (C+)
“The city’s lifestyle and affordability, coupled with the supply of tech talent from nearby universities, has already helped build a thriving start-up scene in Denver and Boulder, 40 minutes away,” The New York Times wrote.
4. Washington, DC
Appears in: CityLab, WSJ (3), Everest, Sperlings (5), NYT (3rd tier), CNBC (B-)
“‘Quality of life’ in [Amazon’s] context is primarily about two things – housing costs and amenities – and striking a balance between them,” The New York Times wrote. “Washington is also expensive, but more affordable Baltimore is a commuter rail line away. And Jeff Bezos, for one, has a nice quality of life in D.C. – he bought a $23 million home there this year.”
Note: Lists written prior to January 18 did not separate the three DC-area bids, and for the purposes of our list, they have been considered as one.
3. Austin, Texas
Appears in: CityLab, WSJ (9), Sperlings (6), Moody’s (1), NYT (2nd tier), CNBC (B-)
“Austin has a much lower cost of living than places such as Silicon Valley. Even though house prices have been rising and are high for Texas or the South, they are well below those in California or the Northeast. Anecdotally the quality of life is high, and many want to live in the ‘Silicon Hills.’ Further, being in Texas, Austin resides in a business-friendly state that seeks to attract and keep companies,” Moody’s wrote.
- Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Appears in: Moody’s (8), WSJ (2), Everest, Sperlings (2), NYT (3rd tier), CNBC (C+)
“The metro division is one of only a few places nationally with a talent pool deep enough to provide the tens of thousands of highly skilled workers sought by Amazon. Boston shares a common labor pool with Cambridge and together the two boast one of the country’s largest tech industries and a world-class system of higher education, anchored by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Moody’s wrote.
- ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Appears in: CNBC (B-), NYT (2nd tier), Moody’s (2), Sperlings (1), Everest, CityLab, WSJ (4)
“Experts and armchair urbanists alike have lauded cities with good airports as high on Amazon’s watch list,” CityLab wrote. “The city has a deep and rapidly growing tech talent pool. According to Brookings, the long-standing presence of companies with leading supply-chain technology – like Coca Cola, Home Depot, and UPS – might also help bring in the right kind of talent. Low cost of living, proximity to great universities, and creating a presence on the opposite side of the country add to the city’s appeal.”