Calgary eager to grab Amazon’s attention with bid for new headquarters
Published Friday, October 20, 2017 8:28AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 20, 2017 10:15AM MDT
The deadline for bids for Amazon’s new headquarters has passed and the City of Calgary has high hopes that it will be on the short list for the online giant.
Officials released details of their ‘cheeky’ bid to executives on Thursday that involved a lot of boasts involving the mountains and wildlife of Alberta.
“We know we’ve got a rock solid business case, but we need to get breakthrough attention and because there are employees voting, we wanted to touch the employees as well,” said Mary Moran with Calgary Economic Development.
Amazon is looking for a city with over one million residents, an international airport and a ‘business-friendly tax incentive’ to house its second headquarters.
The winner would reap the benefits of 50,000 new jobs and an infrastructure investment worth $5B.
Competition is stiff as more than 100 cities in Canada and the United States have submitted bids to get the attention of the company.
Calgary’s bid says that compared to Amazon’s first headquarters in Seattle, it can offer $2.1B a year in labour and health care savings, plus another 14 to 18 percent in savings on business costs including construction and tax credits.
“The built-in incentives far outweigh anything that we would be able to put together or that any other city could put together,” Moran said.
Experts say that Austin, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Rochester N.Y., Pittsburgh, Denver and New York City are the top contenders on the list.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says that Calgary’s ample office space and talent pool are major assets.
“Because of our history as a head office centre in a technical industry, we have an enormous amount to offer and I think that is one of the major, major strengths that we’ve got that others don’t have.”
A lot of other cities are using attention-grabbing tactics to try to win the competition. Tuscon sent execs a six and a half metre high cactus, Stonecrest, Georgia approved a plan for the company to build its own community outside city limits and New Jersey’s governor promises $7B in tax breaks if it chooses Newark.
Amazon says it will have a short list in about six weeks, but that will depend on the number of bids it gets.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)