HQ2 could be set in the same state of Washington, but we'll find out officially in 2018. Image: Amazon.

Amazon.com Inc. announced this Thursday that it is looking for a second home to build its new headquarters in North America. HQ2, as it will be called, will be a complex worth $5 billion in investments and capable of housing at least 50,000 company employees.

Cities interested in having such an influential tech giant call them home will need to submit a proposal to Amazon before October 19. Those who bid to become metropolis that houses HQ2 will find out if they won next year, according to a press release published by the online retailer.

CEO Jeff Bezos said the people at Amazon expect the new headquarters to be a “full equal” to the original ones in Seattle, Washington. Considering the requirements the company has imposed, there are only a handful of cities that meet the criteria to realistically reel them in.

Which are the requirements to host HQ2?

Along with the announcement of its plans to expand even further with a second physical location, Amazon listed the requirements it seeks from potential candidate cities that want to receive a Prime-delivered economic injection.

Metropolitan areas with a population surpassing one million are desirable, as well as urban and suburban locations in which workers can easily see themselves living and establishing themselves.

With this in mind, said areas must have a rigid economic core, with a willingness to support new businesses and making them grow. Likewise, the communities that intend to host HQ2 need to be big and creative thinkers, according to Amazon, when it comes to real estate planning.

The e-commerce giant is looking for a downtown campus, but it isn’t entirely fixed on that so a suburban HQ in the outskirts of a big metro area could work for them too. Preferably, Amazon wants a plot that is ready for development and that the building resembles the design of its Seattle complex.

Amazon probably has a short list of HQ2 cities already

Of course, being so exclusive and specific about what they want immediately rules out a ton of options, including some cities that fit the population and business profile but are not ideal in every single way.

As Bloomberg notes, the company would probably favor a city with an established tech industry, a functioning international airport, a college area nearby to fish for fresh talent, and a recorded willingness to provide tax incentives to them in case they considered settling there.

According to analyst Conor Sen, Toronto, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta or Washington are the most likely candidates that would earn the right to host HQ2 if they were to bid. Notice how the absence of Californian cities reaffirms Amazon’s mindset of not going with the flow if it proves detrimental to workers’ livelihood, i.e. prohibitively expensive living costs.

Source: Amazon