Toronto maybe out of the running for Amazon HQ2: reports

Nov 5 2018, 11:47 pm

While excitement was building in Toronto as the city neared learning its fate in the selection of the Amazon HQ2, the anticipation may be fading.

Amazon has not formally announced the winning location that will be home to its second global headquarters, but reports are now surfacing of several cities being in “advanced” discussions, and Toronto isn’t one of them.

Nearly 240 bids were submitted by cities across the continent, and in January of this year, a short list of 20 cities being seriously considered was released by the company.

In April, Amazon officials were visiting Toronto as part of its evaluation process of the shortlisted cities.

But over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that Amazon is looking into how quickly it could move its employees to HQ2 in Crystal City, Virginia, which is south of downtown Washington, DC.

According to The Post, the discussions were “more detailed than those the company has had regarding other locations in Northern Virginia and some other cities nationally, adding to speculation that the site in Arlington County is a front-runner to land the online retail giant’s second North American headquarters and its 50,000 jobs.”

And The Washington Post wasn’t the only one to report Virginia’s shortlist.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon progressed its late-stage talks with Virginia’s Crystal City, and also Dallas and New York City.

In its report, it also said that discussions have “cooled” in some of the other cities, which include Denver, Atlanta, Nashville, and Toronto.

After the news spread of the city selection, Mike Grella, Amazon Director of Economic Development Public Policy, said that the leaked reports aren’t doing Crystal City any favours.

“And stop treating the NDA you signed like a used napkin,” Grella said, assumingly directed to the nondisclosure agreements that Amazon required finalists to sign.

Toronto Global, the public agency that promotes multiple Toronto area municipalities to international investors, submitted a 185-page bid book to Amazon in October 2017.

A total of 10 possible sites for HQ2 across the Greater Toronto Area were proposed, including the downtown Toronto Waterfront, downtown Mississauga, Markham Centre, and Vaughan Corporate Centre.

Amazon says it plans to invest about USD$5 billion into constructing eight million-sq-ft of office space to accommodate up to 50,000 new high-paying jobs. Such a headquarters complex, which would supplement the existing headquarters in Seattle, would be built in several phases spanning 15 years.

With files from Kenneth Chan

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