The Hype is Real – All Eyes Turn to the 20 Finalists for Amazon’s HQ2

Amazon National Map

Map showcasing the 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2 – Source: Amazon

Is there more hype surrounding Amazon’s exhaustive HQ2 search than Y2K’s purported apocalypse? If you ask NAI Hunneman’s COO, Steve Prozinski, it appears so. With the e-commerce giant’s 20-location shortlist announcement dropping late last week, commercial real estate experts have ramped up their speculative analysis on the potential outcome of Amazon’s decision. Irish Gambling site, Paddy Power, has even been taking bets on where HQ2 will land, with Boston in the lead spot with 2-to-1 odds. While we can likely attribute some of the excitement to the advent of 24-hour news cycles and social media, it’s clear that Amazon’s impact on the winning city will be far greater than anything that happened post Y2K.

In looking at the list of finalists there were some surprises, like Newark and Columbus, that made it and some that didn’t, like Houston and Phoenix. In order to better understand each market, we put together a matrix of characteristics for comparison:


HQ2-Table2-2While there is a clear East Coast dominance to the list, which Bisnow explores, those in the top 20 are rather diverse — with both large and mid-sized markets making the cut. A winner will be crowned later this year, and until then we expect the hype to remain frenzied.

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Liz Berthelette is NAI Hunneman’s Director of Research. You can learn more about her in her bio or follow her on Twitter at @liz_berthelette.

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