Amazon picks 20 finalists for its second headquarters

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Amazon has released a "short" list of cities it is considering for its second headquarters.

But the list isn't exactly short. The 20 potential cities include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County in Maryland, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto and Washington D.C.

Last year, Amazon received bids from 238 cities and regions from across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America. The company said it would make a decision in 2018.

"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. "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."

Amazon said it evaluated each of the bids based on the criteria it previously outlined, such as proximity to a major airport and ability to attract tech talent.

In the coming months, the company said it will work with each of the locations to "dive deeper" into their proposals, obtain more information and evaluate how the city could accommodate Amazon's hiring plans and benefit its workers and the local community.

Called HQ2, the new facility will cost at least $5 billion to construct and operate, and will create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Cities made splashy attempts to attract the company's attention. For example, Tuscon, Arizona sent a giant cactus to CEO Jeff Bezos and Stonecrest, Georgia offered to de-annex some of its land and rename it the city of Amazon.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Mayor Sly James gave five-star reviews to 1,000 random items on Amazon's website, which tied in the city's strengths into each post.

Amazon has said the second headquarters would be a "full equal" to its Seattle campus. The tech giant estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an extra $38 billion to the city's economy.