In 2017, Amazon.com announced it was seeking a second North American headquarters which, once built out, would employ up to 50,000 high-tech workers. This set off a race among big cities eager to house the world's most valuable company and its well-paid employees.

The Seattle-based online retailer founded and run by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, said its "HQ2" would result in close to $5 billion in investment in the chosen city. The company said it would prioritize metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people and that it was encouraging interested communities to think "big" and "creatively" about possible locations.

Amazon HQ2 timeline

1994

Amazon is founded in Bellevue, Washington. Later that year the small company moves to an office in Seattle.

1995

Amazon.com launches online, selling only books.

2010

Amazon has an estimated 10,000 employees in Seattle.

Sept. 7, 2017

Amazon announces it is searching for a second headquarters, one that will be co-equal to its Seattle home. It posts a Request for Proposal outlining what information it requires from cities that want to be considered.

At the time, Amazon was estimated to have about 40,000 employees in Seattle. The company occupied 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, according to an analysis by The Seattle Times.

Oct. 19, 2017

Deadline for cities to submit their applications. In all, 238 proposals were received from across the United States and Canada. 

Jan. 18, 2018

Shortlist of 20 finalists announced. The cities:

Atlanta

Austin, Texas

Boston/East Boston, Massachusetts

Chicago

Columbus, Ohio

Dallas

Denver

Indianapolis

Los Angeles

Miami

Montgomery County, Maryland

Nashville, Tennessee

Newark, New Jersey

New York City

Northern Virginia (Loudoun and Fairfax counties)

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

Raleigh, North Carolina

Toronto

Washington, D.C.

Spring-Summer 2018

Amazon teams visit all 20 cities/areas, a process that the company – and the cities – largely keep under wraps.

Sept. 13, 2018

Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington D.C., Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company would announce a decision before the end of the year. 

Nov. 5, 2018

After it became clear finding a city that could lure 50,000 highly-paid tech workers wasn't as easy as it had thought, Amazon pivots and instead decides to add two new headquarters instead of one. The two cities to be chosen aren't named, but Northern Virginia and New York City are at the top of most lists.

Nov. 13, 2018

Amazon chooses New York City and Arlington county, Virginia, as the destinations for its next headquarters.