Amazon included New York City in its short list of 20 potential cities where it could locate its second headquarters.
The $600 billion e-commerce and technology giant announced that it had refined its choices from 238 proposals. Amazon’s solicitation to local governments and real estate developers and landlords for bids last year sparked a frenzied competition. The Seattle-based company has pledged to create 50,000 jobs, take up to 8 million square feet of space and invest $5 billion in the new headquarters.
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough—all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” a spokeswoman for Amazon said in a statement. “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.”
City boosters reacted with little surprise that it is still in the running.
“I’m very encouraged by this, but I’m not surprised because I expected us to be here,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “We have always thought that it was NYC’s bid to lose. This is an important market for them and by far we have the largest concentration of diverse talent.”
Wylde believes that Toronto, the only city named in the list outside the U.S., is the biggest threat to New York’s bid because of tightened immigration rules imposed by the Trump administration that could make it more difficult to recruit talent from overseas.
“What I really worry about is that our national immigration policy is becoming so restrictive that it makes Canada look like a better place to be because they don’t have those rules,” Wylde said.
City Hall wouldn’t immediately confirm whether Mayor Bill de Blasio would personally give a tour of potential locations in the city to Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, or other senior executives.
“We’ll make decisions about the mayor and senior officials’ direct engagement once we sit down with Amazon to discuss next steps,” a City Hall representative said.
Earlier in the day, de Blasio, who has publicly stated the city will not offer special financial incentives to attract Amazon, tweeted: “We’re excited to be one step closer to landing the 50,000 good-paying jobs in Amazon’s HQ2. No city in the world has the talent New York City can offer!”
The city had submitted four areas for consideration: Hudson Yards, Long Island City, Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Also making the short list were previously speculated front-runners Denver, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as Newark. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie promised Amazon lavish incentives to come to the state, benefits it is not yet clear whether his successor, Gov. Phil Murphy, will still extend.
In its statement, Amazon said it will work with each of the final 20 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 said it expects to select a winner by the end of the year.