Amazon announces top 20 finalists for company's second headquarters

Amazon has announced it has chosen 20 metropolitan areas to move to the next phase of choosing a location for its second headquarters in North America.

The company said it received nearly 240 proposals from across the U.S, Canada and Mexico.

Here are the final 20:

- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Indianapolis, IN
- Los Angeles, CA
- Miami, FL
- Montgomery County, MD
- Nashville, TN
- Newark, NJ
- New York City, NY
- Northern Virginia, VA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Raleigh, NC
- Toronto, ON
- Washington D.C.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “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.”

[READ: Metro Atlanta city pulling all the stops to become Amazon's next HQ]

Channel 2's Richard Elliot was there when Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms walked into her office all smiles barely an hour after she learned the news that Atlanta made the first cut for Amazon's HQ 2.

It also happened to be her birthday.

"So, I should’ve known that this is going to be a phenomenal birthday when I learned that Atlanta was one of 20 cities selected for Amazon's HQ2 short list this morning," she said.

Bottoms said she looks forward to the next stage of the selection process.

Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria outlined in the RFP to create the list of 20 HQ2 candidates that will continue in the selection process.

Governor Nathan Deal, who worked with former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to come up with the bid said, "This has been a cooperative effort by the entire region and we truly believe that metro Atlanta has the talent, transit and logistics that provides the best location for Amazon’s second headquarters.”

This is just the top 20, and Atlanta is on that list with the other high-powered cities.

Invest Atlanta’s Dr. Eloisa Klementich believes the city’s tech sector will put Georgia near the top.

"Those are the main things that Amazon is looking for, is they want a place where they can hire great individuals, and they have a great quality of life, and what better place than Atlanta," she said.

Mayor Bottoms said she'll continue the partnership forged by her predecessor to insure Amazon comes here.

"I will certainly continue to look to the governor and the state's leadership as to how best we can partner and be as attractive as we can to help attract this company to Atlanta," she said.

The governor’s office told Elliot that if Georgia makes the really short list, the top five or top three, they’ll call for a special session to pass discuss the incentives Amazon may want or need.

In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community.

[READ: Amazon files plan to open brick-and-mortar book store in Atlanta]

Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.

Gov. Nathan Deal praised Amazon's decision to include Atlanta on its list of Top 20 finalists for the company's second headquarters. 
"We are excited to learn that Atlanta has been included on Amazon's short list," said Deal. "This has been a cooperative effort by the entire region, and we truly believe that Metro Atlanta has the talent, transit and logistics that provides the best location for Amazon's second headquarters. We look forward to the next steps, and making sure our region remains at the top of the list."

Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite office, the company said.

The company said it plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

[READ: Mayor: Winning Amazon's HQ2 is the metro's next 'Olympic moment]

In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.