The company sent cities across North America to a crap last year when it announced its search. Double HQ2, the new plant – or the plants – costs at least $ 5 billion to build and will create as many as 50,000 high paying jobs for the next 10 to 15 years. The staff at Amazon's main campus in Seattle will be offered the chance to move.
The company has narrowed 238 proposals down to 20 finalists, and executives have traveled across the United States and to a Canadian city to investigate websites for Amazon's new home. But as the company provides few updates, theories and leaks about which city to be crowned will continue to swirl – and this week has brought news of news.
Here's what we know about where HQ2 plans are.
What qualities is Amazon seeking HQ2?
The expected 50,000 people who will eventually work at the new headquarters will bring a big financial boost to the winning city – or cities. The fact that the work pays well makes the opportunity even more attractive.
But cities must have certain characteristics.
In its request for proposals, Amazon outlined more criteria for HQ2, as proximity to a major airport and the ability to attract technical talent. It must be a suburban or urban area with more than 1 million people. Amazon also said it was looking for communities that offer a "stable and business-friendly" environment and access to bulk shipment.
Which cities are still underway and who are the best competitors?
Depends on who you ask.
Amazon announced a list of 20 finalists for HQ2 in January, including: Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville; Newark; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, Toronto; and Washington, DC.
Last weekend, The Washington Post reported that North Virginia's Crystal City was in advanced conversations with Amazon for the second headquarters. On Sunday, the Journal not only tells Crystal City, but also Dallas and New York City were in late discussions with the company. According to the sources of the journal, conversations with other cities like Denver, Toronto and Nashville seem to have fizzled.
An Amazon leader took a sweep on the Washington Post report on Saturday. "Memo for genius that delivers information about Crystal City, VA as # HQ2. You do not make Crystal City, VA anyone favors. And stop processing NDA you signed as a used napkin," tweeted
Mike Grella , Amazon's Director of Economic Development.
Grella is leading economic development for Amazon Web Services and has not been involved at all in HQ2 search, a source familiar with the case told CNN Business.
Meanwhile, Washington, DC, the Metroråd has been considered a favorite for the area. It is the only region with three finalists on the chart, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and has a home in the country's capital.
Representatives of cities like Dallas, Crystal City, Austin and Philadelphia refused to comment on CNN Business, while others did not respond to requests for comment.
What are cities that offer Amazon?
Some cities became creative with their offerings. Stonecrest, Georgia – which is still operating as part of the Atlantic's bid – offered to turn back some of its country and rename it to the Amazon.
But at all, the finalists took varied approaches to freeing their suggestions to the audience. Toronto, the only Canadian city on the map, sent all of its offer online without editors. The city wondered on its diverse technical talent, universal health care and welcoming immigration system. It also suggested real estate for the facility.
Others have been published with large tax incentives. Maryland approved $ 8.5 billion in incentives for Amazon – the largest known package. Not far behind is Newark, New Jersey, which announced $ 7 billion in incentives to attract the company.
But many cities issued black versions of their bids or refused to make any parts of their proposals public. Philadelphia released a heavily edited proposal that included information about potential sites and talent pools, but blocked details of incentives.
Where are we in the decision making process and when will Amazon make a final announcement?
Amazon is famous for secrecy, so it's no surprise that the company has largely remained mother in the HQ2 process. Since announcing its short list in January, Amazon has provided almost no public updates beyond pointing out that a decision would be taken this year.
According to a source familiar with the search, Amazon packed a visit to all 20 finalists this summer. When touring cities met Amazon representatives with local business leaders and saw potential real estate agent.
After these visits, Amazon asked the finalists for a comprehensive request for information – a standard document for economic development projects – which contains a number of questions about talent, real estate, regulations and more.
In recent months, the company has also reported revisiting some of the major cities such as Miami, Chicago and New York City, according to the Wall Street Journal.