By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– The list has been reduced from 238 to just 20 as possible locations for Amazon’s second headquarters. Denver is one of those on the list.

Already home to an Amazon fulfillment center in Aurora, the stakes for this are much higher.

(credit: CBS)

Naming the Denver metro area as home to the company’s second headquarters could create as many as 50,000 jobs.

What do people in the already booming area think of that? CBS4 asked people walking on the 16th Street Mall.

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“I say we embrace the growth and we take Amazon if they give us the opportunity,” said one man.

But the question remains, will Denver get that opportunity? Here’s some of what it’s up against:

  • Chicago is offering $2 billion in tax breaks
  • Newark beats that with $7 billion in tax incentives
  • Atlanta is giving out $1 billion in incentives
  • Stonecrest Ga, will rename itself “Amazon” and appoint the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos as mayor
  • Denver is offering state tax breaks which some estimate could save the company $100 million.

But, JJ Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, one of those leading the Denver bid says that’s relatively minor.

(credit: CBS)

“Colorado is very modest when it comes to incentives we don’t think incentives are what really persuades companies,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

Ament calls Colorado’s educated workforce the biggest incentive. Of course the mountains, the weather on some days and the airport don’t hurt.

Amazon corporate headquarters in Seattle (credit: David Ryder/Getty Images)

One woman seemed elated at the possibility of Amazon coming to Colorado with a headquarters, “I think it’s exciting we’d love to amazon here with all that technology i’m an architect so bring it on.”

But not everyone agrees.

“We already have high real estate prices i think it would drive em higher push people further out,” another man said.

(credit: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

And many point out bringing at least 50,000 more jobs may not improve the traffic.

Denver’s bid offered a choice of 30 sites for the company to choose from, but only eight were included in the executive summary, meaning those were the top selections. Ament said it will be up to Amazon, if it chooses to come here, where it will be located. He expects it could be a variety of locations.

Gov. John Hickenlooper gave the following statement on Amazon releasing the list of 20 finalists for its second headquarters.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s great to be on Amazon’s list of finalists as they consider the location of their second headquarters. Colorado is one of the most business-friendly states in America and we believe the Denver region would be a great choice for Amazon.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released this statement: “We are proud that Metro Denver is being increasingly recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative, progressive regions with global connectivity that is helping home-grown businesses and major industries thrive here. Our economic gains have been some of the strongest in the country, and companies of all shapes and sizes are discovering that Denver’s workforce is second-to-none. We are focused on bringing good employers with sustainable jobs for our people today and in the future, and together with our state and regional partners, we look forward to continuing to explore this opportunity with Amazon to determine if we are the right fit for each other.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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