LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The City of Angels is among the 20 finalists being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters, the online retailer announced Thursday.
Since Amazon announced in September it was looking to set up shop outside of Seattle, where it was founded, cities have been furiously wooing the retail giant with major tax breaks and promises of infrastructure improvement. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan of Amazon Public Policy said in a statement.
When Amazon announced it was starting the hunt for a second home, it named some deal-breakers – the new spot had to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people, be within 45 minutes of an international airport, have direct access to mass transit, and be able to expand the new headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet over the next decade.
But Amazon also made it very clear it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.
Some state and local governments have made public the details of the financial incentives they are dangling. Boston’s offer includes $75 million for affordable housing for Amazon employees and others. Before he left office Tuesday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie approved a measure to allow New Jersey to offer up to $5 billion to Amazon. Newark also proposes to give Amazon $2 billion in tax breaks.
Los Angeles was the only California city to make the list of finalists. San Diego and Chula Vista had also been in the running.
Other big city finalists include New York, Washington DC, and Chicago.
“It’s a long list, for a shortlist,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at job site Indeed.
He said Amazon may use the list to pit the locations against each other and get better tax breaks or incentives. Two metro areas, New York and Washington, have more than one location that made the list, increasing competition there, he said.
“It’s hard to say whether all these places are in play or Amazon wanted to encourage continued competition,” Kolko said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether locations would be able to change their proposals or offer better incentives, but said in a statement that it would “work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals.”
State and local governments played up the amenities they think make their locations the best choice for Amazon’s second headquarters. Some pulled off stunts to stand out, such as New York, which lit the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.
Some stunts didn’t work: Tucson, Arizona, which sent a 21-foot cactus to Seattle, did not make the list. Neither did Birmingham, Alabama, which installed giant replicas of Amazon’s Dash buttons.
Amazon said it will make a final selection sometime this year.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)