More than 200 metro areas entered to win Amazon’s massive HQ2 contest before the Oct. 19 deadline — 238 to be exact.
Those proposals came from 54 states, provinces, districts, and territories across North America, Amazon announced Monday. The numbers are higher than many previous estimates, illustrating the intense interest in landing Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters campus.
In the U.S., there are only seven states where no cities are bidding on HQ2: Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Arkansas, Vermont, and Hawaii.
For the past month and a half, cities have been bending over backward to get Amazon’s attention. New York City lit up in “Amazon orange,” Birmingham, Ala. placed three giant Amazon delivery boxes around town, and Stonecrest, Ga. pledged to create the “City of Amazon.” Even Amazon’s hometown, Seattle, made a hail mary attempt to get the tech titan to keep HQ2 close to home.
With more than 200 competitors, it’s not hard to see why these regions pulled over-the-top stunts to get on Amazon’s radar in the weeks leading up to the company’s deadline.
But now the submission period is closed and Amazon suitors can do little more than sit back and wait as the company reviews proposals and ultimately makes its decision. According to Amazon’s request for proposals, the HQ2 announcement will come sometime in 2018 and construction will begin in 2019.
Related: Amazon HQ2 deadline day: Everything you need to know about the biggest headquarters contest ever
Amazon did include some glimpses into the criteria it will use to judge proposals; the company is looking for a metro area with more than 1 million people, quality transit options, and incentives from local governments. Those could come in the form of tax credits and exemptions, relocation and workforce grants, utility incentives, and fee reductions, Amazon says. The company is also encouraging communities to “think big and creatively” in their proposals. With so many hats in the ring, creativity may be the criterion that puts one city over the top.
The winner will get up to 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment that Amazon says HQ2 will bring. That will undoubtedly be a boon to the economy of the chosen city but some Seattleites and civic leaders around the country are warning suitors to be careful what they wish for.