By GREGORY ZELLER //
Long Island still has a pulse in the heart-revving race to host Amazon’s fabled “HQ2.”
The Seattle-based e-commerce and cloud-computing titan on Thursday announced 20 “candidates” still in the running to host its much-anticipated, heavily desired second North American headquarters, following a thorough vetting of what Amazon counted as 238 proposals from across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
But Amazon was quick to note that the finalists represent not only specific cities but entire “metropolitan areas” – so, with Nassau and Suffolk county officials last year submitting locations for inclusion in Empire State Development Corp.’s official Amazon bid, and ambitious projects in Brentwood and now at Belmont Park itching for major-league anchors, wild dreams of this golden egg hatching on Long Island live on.
(For the truest believers, an additional ray of hope: Other regionally focused proposals, including bids from “Northern Virginia” and Montgomery County, MD, also made the list.)
At stake is “not a satellite office,” but what Amazon describes as “a full equal” to its Seattle mothership, including a $5 billion investment to build out the second North American headquarters and, ultimately, some 50,000 high-paying jobs.
And that’s in addition to what the ubiquitous corporation estimates as tens of thousands of temporary construction jobs and “billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”
Amazon said Thursday it carefully evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria included in its 2017 Request for Proposals. Culling the list from 238 submissions to 20 finalists “was very tough,” according to spokeswoman Holly Sullivan.
Over the coming months, the company will work with each of the remaining candidate locations to evaluate the feasibility of a potential partnership that not only benefits the local community but matches up with Amazon’s hiring strategies.
Other metropolitan regions making the list of finalists include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Washington.
Regions in Texas, Ohio, New Jersey and North Carolina also made the final round.
More good news for those hoping to bring more of Amazon’s socioeconomic riches to Long Island: The company – which in the last two years has opened a 161,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution center in Bethpage and a new 2,000-person NYC satellite office – will be looking at runner-up HQ2 sites as possible locations for other, smaller operations.
“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,” Sullivan said in a statement.
Amazon said it expects to announce the winning HQ2 location this calendar year.