Edmonton submits proposal to house new Amazon headquarters

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Edmonton makes bid to bring Amazon headquarters to city
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton is hoping to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in the city. Thursday was the deadline for cities to make their pitches and Edmonton is confident its bid will pay off no matter what happens. Fletcher Kent explains. – Oct 19, 2017

Edmonton is officially in the running to become home to Amazon’s next headquarters.

READ MORE: Possibility of hosting Amazon North American headquarters has Edmonton mayor excited 

Brad Ferguson, president of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, said the EEDC had formally submitted its application ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

“Today we submitted our proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2),” Ferguson said in a statement on Twitter.

While he didn’t share details of the proposal — or what, if any, incitements were offered to Amazon — Ferguson did say the bid was a team effort.

“Leaders from our business, government, non-profit and post secondary communities came together over the past four weeks in a joint effort to tell Edmonton’s story.”

READ MORE: World-leading artificial intelligence program at University of Alberta gets major boost

“We are extremely proud of how this team approach differentiates Edmonton from our competitors, and we believe this is exactly what Amazon requires to be successful.

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“This is a competitive undertaking and this is only the first step in the process. We will not be releasing the details of our proposal at this time.”

Amazon is on the hunt for a North American city to house what it calls HQ2: a second headquarters. The ideal match will tick off most of a wide-ranging list of requirements that covers practical matters, like available buildings and green space, as well as a certain ‘je ne said quoi’ that, for example, helps it attract tech talent.

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The tech titan is promising up to 50,000 high paying jobs and a US$5-billion investment. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary have all promised to submit proposals by Thursday, the deadline for those looking to woo the firm into their regions.

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READ MORE: Amazon headquarters would ‘fundamentally alter’ potential Canadian city candidates 

In September, Mayor Don Iveson promised to “rally everyone from the airport authority to the local and regional economic development entities to the downtown business association to make a case for why Amazon should come and take one of the half empty or empty buildings in our downtown that are on sale right now, right in the heart of the innovation corridor that runs from NAIT to the U of A and has some of the brightest machine-learning people.”

READ MORE: Prominent artificial intelligence firm to open 1st lab outside UK in Edmonton 

“When you come here, you become part of the city,” EEDC’s Adam Sweet said Thursday. “We embrace you. And that story of your company becomes part of Edmonton’s story as well.

“That’s something that differentiates us from any other city, we believe, in North America.”

He also explained why the specifics of the proposal are being kept close to the chest.

“This is a competitive process. Submitting the bid is only the first step,” Sweet said. “We have a number of confidential items in there both from the private sector as well as from other players that we want to ensure are kept confidential and that we can continue to use throughout the next stages of the competition.”

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A New York Times assessment looked at all of the possible cities to bid in the U.S., and suggested Denver was the No. 1 option for Amazon, based on the company’s HQ2 criteria.

“A statistician from Canada – actually from Vancouver – then did the same comparison across the Canadian cities and said Calgary is the number one city in Canada,” Calgary Economic Development president and CEO Mary Moran said.

READ MORE: Calgary launches ‘Hey Amazon’ chalk campaign in Seattle ahead of HQ2 bid 

On Thursday, Moran spoke to Global News about the marketing campaign Calgary launched to entice Amazon to the city, including a series of colourful chalk memos around Amazon’s existing home of Seattle.

Moran cited two main reasons that Calgary would be a good fit for Amazon: the “talent pool” and “a turnkey option for real estate.”

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With files from Global’s Melissa Gilligan and Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

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