These are the top 5 contenders for Amazon’s HQ2, according to Bank of America

Atlanta is one of the top contenders for Amazon's HQ2.

Atlanta is one of the top contenders for Amazon’s HQ2.

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch revealed its top five picks for Amazon‘s HQ2 project.
  • Atlanta; Denver; Washington, DC; Boston; and Raleigh, North Carolina, all made the list.
  • HQ2 is expected to have drastic economic impacts on the chosen city.

The race is on for Amazon‘s second headquarters project.

According to Bank of America’s analytics, the top contenders among the remaining candidates are Atlanta; Boston; Denver; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Washington, DC. The cities were listed in alphabetical order and were not ranked otherwise. Washington’s inclusion is lumped together with two other nearby sites in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Amazon released a short list of 20 cities it was still considering in January.

Bank of America considered two factors in choosing the cities: how closely each city mirrors Seattle (the site of Amazon’s current headquarters), and how attractive the city’s financial, employment, education, business, housing, transportation, and innovation sectors are.

The analysts judged each factor equally, as Amazon hasn’t given too much information about how it will rank each one when considering cities. Amazon could be swayed further, for example, by tax benefits and incentives, which are being negotiated behind closed doors and aren’t available to the public for ranking.

Amazon’s HQ2 project is one of the most closely watched business endeavors in America, with the chosen city expected to inherit a bevy of benefits including $5 billion in local investment and 50,000 new jobs.

Looking at credit-card data, Bank of America found that Seattle’s retail sales, excluding cars and gas, grew by 30% from 2011 to 2017, while nationally the average rate of growth was only 21% over that period. Both airlines and car dealerships operating out of the five cities identified by Bank of America stand to gain substantially, the bank noted.

A study funded by the state of Maryland found that HQ2 could have economic effects of up to $17 billion a year on the state once everything is up and running.