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Waterloo Region plans to bid for Amazon's second headquarters

Last Updated Sep 9, 2017 at 6:42 am EDT

File photo. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Our region intends to throw its hat into the ring for Amazon’s second corporate headquarters.

The e-commerce giant has opened bidding to cities across North America to be the home of its so-called “HQ2,” which will hire as many as 50,000 new employees and bring billions of dollars in investments.

According to Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky, the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation is working with the province on a sales pitch, but right now it’s early days in terms of determining how the bid will look.

“Amazon will get many proposals from many states and many provinces, and that’s why it’s really important for us to take a provincial approach,” Jaworsky says, “to look at what our strengths are here, and make sure we address those needs.”

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says it’s a coordinated bid between the entire Region.

“We made the decision well over a year ago to approach any of these kinds of economic development initiatives collaboratively through the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation,” “So I think that the fact that the bid is out there now is a great opportunity for this Region.”

A spokesperson at the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth tells our newsroom their officials are fully engaged in the process, adding that Toronto and Ottawa have also been in touch with Queen’s Park. But from the province’s perspective, they just want Amazon to put its massive complex somewhere in Ontario.

Art Sinclair with the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce thinks we have what it takes to make a competitive offer.

“We’ve established ourselves as being a global centre for technology,” Sinclair says. “I think Amazon would see a lot of positives here that would want them to seriously consider establishing a major presence in the Region.”

Sinclair says we have a lot to offer, citing an educated workforce, the ability to supply the talent Amazon would be seeking, and a reasonable cost of living.

He adds the initial and ongoing costs of doing business with a foreign company like Amazon won’t have a negative impact on small businesses and startups already here.

“This would be complementary for a lot of our small technology firms,” says Sinclair. “Just the presence of a major firm like Amazon I think would assist them.”

Any proposals to Amazon will be made through the Ontario Investment Office by October 19th.