Miami listed as finalist for Amazon’s HQ2

Featured photo courtesy Flickr user Ines Hegedus-Garcia.

The City of Miami is still in the running to hold a new title: home of Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2.

Miami was listed as one of 20 finalists on Thursday to potentially house Amazon’s second headquarters, according to the online giant’s website. Major cities including Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and New York City were also on the list of finalists. The announcement comes nearly three months after Miami submitted its proposal to bring the company’s second hub to South Florida. Miami’s proposal was one of 238 from cities across North America vying for the role.

The University of Miami, along with Miami-Dade College and Florida International University, worked with the city’s Beacon Council — Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership — to submit a proposal to Amazon Oct. 18.

Provost and Executive Vice President Jeffrey Duerk was part of the academic commission working alongside other Florida schools that were in charge of producing information to submit in the proposal to attract the company.

Duerk said seeing the amount of time and effort put into the bid lead Miami to the second round is “exciting and gratifying” but work still needs to be done.

In September Amazon released its preferred criteria, which included “a metropolitan area with more than one million people,” “a stable and business-friendly environment” and “urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.”

Amazon did not specify what set the 20 finalists apart from other applicants in their release but Duerk said flushing out the details of what sets Miami apart from its competitors will be the next phase of the process.

“We expect to get very involved because at this point we will start to get into the more specific granular kind of questions and need to provide probably more specific answers to ‘why Miami?’,” Duerk said. “We are very excited and committed to putting in the effort that’s required to bring it home.”

Amazon said it’s expected to invest $5 billion in construction and create an estimated 50,000 “high-paying” jobs in the HQ2 city.

Duerk said Amazon’s “breadth” across different fields will benefit not only South Florida as a whole but University of Miami students and graduates.

“That’s the exciting part for me, the multitude of ways in which the University of Miami and Amazon could partner together. The multitude of ways our 11 schools and colleges and Amazon would interact across technologies as well as in humanities, in the arts, in communication, in education. Really, it will be pervasive in terms of impact,” Duerk said.

Amazon is expected to make its final decision later this year.