BOEM divided the area into four parcels ranging from 585 square kilometres to 1,004 square kilometres, to be auctioned individually.
If fully developed, the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory found the total area could accommodate up to 5GW of capacity.
BOEM said the proposed leases will double the US' available area for commercial offshore wind development.
Twelve companies have qualified to take part in the auction, including the developer of the 30MW Block Island project, Deepwater Wind, and Fishermen's Energy, which is developing an area off New Jersey.
RES America, Mainstream Renewable Power, NRG Bluewater Wind and Iberdrola are also among those to have qualified. US Wind, the winner of the most recent auction for an area off the coast of Maryland in August, will also take part.