Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist, released in a map, shows a lean toward the northeast of the country, but don’t count Denver out. The Mile High City is among contenders in the West including Los Angeles, Dallas and Austin.

The excitement among state and city governments was palpable when the online behemoth announced the search for a second home. The retailer sweetened the pot with a promise of $5 billion invested in the new headquarters and 50,000 jobs — that’s roughly the population of the Denver suburb of Parker.

Cities are in fierce competition to lure Amazon, and the company said last year that it received 238 proposals. Many promised tax breaks and more to attract attention, but that's not how Colorado did it. The state wanted to compete on lifestyle, talent and natural amenities, rather than incentives.

“We don't have to compete that way because we're Colorado,” JJ Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation told CPR News after the state’s bid was released. “This is a fantastic place to run your business.”

As Ament saw it back in October when the competition began, there were no “negatives for Amazon coming here.” Amazon would seem to agree with Denver making the cut, now the competition tightens with the other 19.

Among the list of 20, most were along the East Coast and Midwest, including Boston, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. Los Angeles was the only West Coast city. Texas and Pennsylvania both had two cities that made the cut: Dallas, Austin, Texas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. And Toronto is the only city outside the U.S.

Amazon said it will make a final selection sometime in 2018.

More: Here's What Seattle Can Teach Denver About Living With Amazon