For Amazon’s HQ2, here’s how Denver stacks up against a few of the 19 other finalists
Amazon said it will make its decision in 2018 on where it plans to settle down for a second headquarters that will employ 50,000 people
Not many were shocked to learn Thursday that Denver was among 20 finalists for the next phase of Amazon hunt for a second headquarters, or HQ2.
After all, within days of Amazon’s request, Denver was picked by The New York Times as the best city for HQ2. But there were multiple lists that did not include Denver as a top choice. The city didn’t make the top five in a Wall Street Journal analysis.
But the city’s biggest knock — not being in an Eastern time zone, which 14 finalists are — may not be as big of an issue as speculated, said Sam Bailey, vice president of economic development at the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, which oversaw Colorado’s bid.
“If you look at the maps, we fall in the middle and a little left,” Bailey said. “If they were only looking for an East Coast city, they wouldn’t have included Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver.”
While the 20 finalists skewed eastward, each of the U.S. four time zones is represented, as were blue and red states, and the north and south. Many finalists didn’t release their bids publicly — Colorado eventually did but redacted incentives and locations. The company plans to announce a winner this year, but that could mean several more short lists before that point. There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions.
“What we don’t know is what does it mean to be one of the 20? Or what is the time frame?” said J.B. Holston, dean of the computer science school at the University of Denver, who feels Denver still has a great shot. “Do I think Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder) has 20 different options in mind? No way! I think he pretty much knows what he wants to do.”
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