Denver still in the running for Amazon's HQ2

by April Bohnert
January 18, 2018
Amazon HQ2 shortlist Denver Colorado
Photo via Shutterstock.

Amazon is one step closer to selecting the location of its highly sought after HQ2. This morning it announced 20 finalists — and Denver made the cut.

The Seattle-based company announced plans last year to invest over $5 billion in the construction of a second headquarters, sending communities across North America into a frenzy as they scrambled to mount proposals for consideration. The tech giant has since whittled down more than 200 applications to a pool of 20.

The list includes Atlanta; Austin, Tex.; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Md.; Nashville; Newark; New York; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.

We expect to invest over $5 billion and grow our second headquarters location to be a full equal to Amazon’s current campus in Seattle, creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.”

“We expect to invest over $5 billion and grow our second headquarters location to be a full equal to Amazon’s current campus in Seattle, creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs,” Amazon said in a statement. “In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and operation of HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”

The private Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with local municipalities and the state, submitted Denver’s proposal in October. The details of that proposal are still mostly unclear, though officials have been vocal in acknowledging that Denver would not offer massive tax incentives (like the $7 billion in incentives offered up by New Jersey). Instead, officials have focused on the state's universities, its burgeoning tech talent and its commitment to the environment and healthy living.

Naysayers fear that the city’s infrastructure, along with worsening traffic conditions and a rising cost of living, will not be able to handle the influx of people required to man such a facility. Yet the voices of politicians and businesses have largely been enthusiastic about the opportunity.  

In September, the company expanded its presence in Colorado with the opening of a one-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Aurora that will employee roughly 1,000 workers, in addition to its existing 452,000-square-foot sorting center. Amazon also hinted at plans to build a massive 2.4 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Thornton, which it expects to open in 2018.

Amazon expects to make a final decision sometime this year, but no date has been set. Built In reached out to Amazon for comment on the factors being weighed most heavily as it narrows down the field. We will update the story if we hear more.

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