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Toronto Among 20 Finalists for Amazon’s HQ2 Headquarters

Toronto Among 20 Finalists for Amazon’s HQ2 Headquarters

By Simon Hung

Amazon has announced 20 finalists for their second North American headquarters and Toronto is the only Canadian candidate to make the list.

In September 2017, the e-commerce giant announced plans to open a second headquarters called HQ2 and invited prospective cities to submit proposals for consideration. The new headquarters will serve as an equivalent base of operations to their main Seattle campus and the company is expected to invest over $5 billion USD into the project and create upwards of 50,000 jobs.

Amazon received a total of 238 applications, including proposals from 12 Canadian cities (along with a letter from Justin Trudeau to Jeff Bezos) -- Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Langford, Montreal, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor (in a joint bid with Detroit) and Winnipeg.

Toronto, along with 19 American cities, are finalists for Amazon's second headquarters.

Toronto is the only Canadian city to move onto the next stage of the selection process, where Amazon will further evaluate each finalist to determine the feasibility of their proposals. The company is expected to announce their final selection later in 2018.

While Toronto is considered an underdog in this process, Amazon could potentially save upwards of $1.5 billion per year by investing in a Toronto-based headquarters. According to the Canadian Press, a combination of lower corporate taxes, the Canadian dollar and social programs like universal health care may give Toronto an edge over the other 19 American finalists, which include:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • New York City, New York
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Northern Virginia, Virginia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.

Visit Amazon's HQ2 page to learn more about their search for a second headquarters or the Toronto Global website to view Toronto's full 97-page HQ2 proposal.

39 Comments

    • It's probably going to be in Texas since the Whole Foods HQ is there and it's on the other side of the country from Seattle. If not there then Mexico.
    • Report Post
    • rb wrote:
      Sep 7th, 2017 8:22 pm
      Toronto thinks its in with a chance http://globalnews.ca/news/3725095/toron ... dquarters/

      I doubt Amazon will go outside of the US , despite Trump who will be out in 4 years...If (big IF ) I suspect it will be an East Coast US city
      " Any potential site must have room to grow, as Amazon wants to expand its new headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade."

      Toronto won't have that "room to grow", any room left will be soon filled with new condos
    • Report Post
    • thisismyid wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 12:55 am
      " Any potential site must have room to grow, as Amazon wants to expand its new headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade."

      Toronto won't have that "room to grow", any room left will be soon filled with new condos
      They can set up shop in Mississauga beside Microsoft.
    • Report Post
    • linsook wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 1:27 am
      They can set up shop in Mississauga beside Microsoft.
      But they want public transit, which is non-existent in the Saug.

      As much as I'd like an Amazon HQ in the GTA, I don't think it's possible. Perhaps a smaller company, but not AMZN who is well on their way to conquering the world.
    • Report Post
    • thisismyid wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 12:55 am
      " Any potential site must have room to grow, as Amazon wants to expand its new headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade."

      Toronto won't have that "room to grow", any room left will be soon filled with new condos
      Unilever site alone has 11.5 mill square feet of office space. Area also fulfills many of the requirements (minor adjustments such as extension to Union for UPX).
      http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2016/11/pre ... evelopment

      With that said, it's probably going to end up in Austin.
    • Report Post
    • This will be interesting. Toronto is more expensive with more limited floor plates (depending on how big they want it), but has one of the best transit in North America assuming you're near the subway line or south of Bloor. Also one of the most educated. That's why it does so well as a tech hub. Calgary is trying that but it won't work with their lack of transit. But Toronto is also heavily regulated, as well as Ontario. So it doesn't meet their 'malleable' desire. Housing of course is one of the most expensive in N. America, therefore a huge negative in attracting people who really want to settle. But Canada's lax immigration standards will make it great to go around the US laws.

      Basically, will they want a real commercial district building or a more suburban parking lot type place in a waterloo.

      My hunch is no for Toronto. The US States/cities that are in high growth mode as a tech hub will offer much better incentives and flexibility. Wynne and Ontario still have this "you need us" mentality which won't fly against a global monster.
    • Report Post
    • Only place this could fit in the core would be Lower Don Lands area.

      Toronto will be a strong contender because we have a huge supply of talented but cheap tech labor. Amazon will appreciate that.

      Don't forget Amazon already has some offices (off Bremner I think) as well as huge logistics warehouses out at Steeles + Winston Churchill
    • Report Post
    • Ziggy007 wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 10:46 am
      Only place this could fit in the core would be Lower Don Lands area.

      Toronto will be a strong contender because we have a huge supply of talented but cheap tech labor. Amazon will appreciate that.

      Don't forget Amazon already has some offices (off Bremner I think) as well as huge logistics warehouses out at Steeles + Winston Churchill
      A few floors at Bremner and they just added some space at Scotia Plaza recently (top five floors). We'll lack the tax incentives that the American cities will put up though. Just look at the number of offers thrown at the Tesla Gigafactory with the simple promise of a mere 10,000 jobs.
    • Report Post
    • Lol at thinking Canada has a chance at this.

      Only reason i could think would be as a giant eff you to Trump.
    • Report Post
    • LegiT wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 10:50 am
      A few floors at Bremner and they just added some space at Scotia Plaza recently (top five floors). We'll lack the tax incentives that the American cities will put up though. Just look at the number of offers thrown at the Tesla Gigafactory with the simple promise of a mere 10,000 jobs.
      They may not need tax incentives if you want to factor in salary expenditure as well

      Image

      Not saying it makes us a leader, but it would make it somewhat appealing, especially if the city and province can clear some hurdles on a space like the Lower Don Lands to get that project moving quickly.
    • Report Post
    • Canada isn't even a major customer of Amazon - the USA is the biggest. It makes no sense to dump a 2nd HQ in a market with so few people, compared to the USA. It will go to the US, once Trump gets involved.
    • Report Post
    • Ziggy007 wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 11:29 am
      They may not need tax incentives if you want to factor in salary expenditure as well

      Image

      Not saying it makes us a leader, but it would make it somewhat appealing, especially if the city and province can clear some hurdles on a space like the Lower Don Lands to get that project moving quickly.
      It says the bar for making 6 figures in San Antonio is a lot lower than here. Nice to know.
    • Report Post
    • My bet would be RTP if they're looking for another US campus. A near infinite amount of forest they can cut down, relatively cheap housing in the RDU area, and still has quite a tech presence historically.
    • Report Post
    • I'm surprised Amazon is not considering Europe. There is even more cheap talent out there + solidify their presence.
    • Report Post
    • Yeah, I think Germany is their second biggest market. After dealing with Amazon over their, the service here pales in comparison.
    • Report Post
    • I think Canada is more realistic if Toronto fellates Amazon hard enough, or if Trump guts NAFTA.
    • Report Post
    • it's just a game to pit governments against each other to see if the location amazon already decided on will give them higher tax breaks. Canada will never get this HQ.
    • Report Post
    • Dpack22 wrote:
      Sep 8th, 2017 11:02 am
      Lol at thinking Canada has a chance at this.

      Only reason i could think would be as a giant eff you to Trump.
      You will never be a CEO. CEOs make rationally decisions. Trump will be done 4 or 8 years and then what? They'll be stuck with a bad decision.
    • Report Post
    • heynayjk wrote:
      Sep 11th, 2017 9:30 pm
      You will never be a CEO. CEOs make rationally decisions. Trump will be done 4 or 8 years and then what? They'll be stuck with a bad decision.
      It's an honor to speak to you Mr. President.
    • Report Post
    • I'll bet money that the HQ will go to Austin, TX. TX does what it needs to do, in order to court tech companies. It will even enact progressive-friendly (LGBT) laws for companies that really want it.
      Also, Austin is in a comparatively "safe" part of TX, from a natural disaster PoV. Safer than Houston.
      Unlike some of the other southern U.S. states, less of a redneck/moron problem in TX and definitely very few rednecks in Austin.
      Austin is like a little slice of SFBA in TX. Hell, I'd move there.
    • Report Post
    • Bezos and his communist Washington Post should stay away from Canada for the benefit of all Canadians!!!
    • Report Post
    • lemieux035 wrote:
      Sep 12th, 2017 11:30 am
      Bezos and his communist Washington Post should stay away from Canada for the benefit of all Canadians!!!
      This thread is about Amazon, the most popular shop on RFD's Hot Deals forum, which you'd know if you were on this forum for deals rather than grinding your misinformed political axe.
    • Report Post
    • Dpack22 wrote:
      Sep 12th, 2017 9:25 am
      It's an honor to speak to you Mr. President.
      I am glad I could help.
    • Report Post
    • lemieux035 wrote:
      Sep 12th, 2017 11:30 am
      Bezos and his communist Washington Post should stay away from Canada for the benefit of all Canadians!!!
      +1

      Don't need no WaPo-stirred Antifa and BLM up here making a similar mess.
    • Report Post
    • AndySixx wrote:
      Sep 13th, 2017 2:22 am
      +1

      Don't need no WaPo-stirred Antifa and BLM up here making a similar mess.
      This wins the day, for silliest comment on the internet.
    • Report Post
    • olek86 wrote:
      Sep 13th, 2017 5:14 pm
      This wins the day, for silliest comment on the internet.
      There is nothing more relevant than blathering on about BLM and Antifa in a thread about Amazon.com's next Headquarters. 😂

      The lack of touch with the real world that some posters have on this forum, is incredibly hilarious.
    • Report Post
    • peli33 wrote:
      Sep 10th, 2017 9:07 pm
      I'm surprised Amazon is not considering Europe. There is even more cheap talent out there + solidify their presence.
      Regulatory environment and tax system is much more onerous believe it or not. And with Brexit potentially incurring more of it sooner than later, it adds even more uncertainty.
    • Report Post
    • They already have a bunch of warehouse space in the Western GTA, offices and tech stuff downtown, the rest would be in the burbs.
    • Report Post
    • it's going to Austin, Texas and you can bank it. They may have a higher salary range than Toronto, but they have like 0-1% tax rate for businesses.
    • Report Post
    • nx6288 wrote:
      Sep 14th, 2017 3:54 pm
      it's going to Austin, Texas and you can bank it. They may have a higher salary range than Toronto, but they have like 0-1% tax rate for businesses.
      I thought Texas would be the front runner as well. I wonder how Boston or Atlanta would compare?
    • Report Post
    • rb wrote:
      Sep 7th, 2017 8:22 pm
      Toronto thinks its in with a chance http://globalnews.ca/news/3725095/toron ... dquarters/

      I doubt Amazon will go outside of the US , despite Trump who will be out in 4 years...If (big IF ) I suspect it will be an East Coast US city
      Toronto Region consortium launches bid for new Amazon headquarters
      https://mobilesyrup.com/2017/09/14/toro ... dquarters/

      The cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton — as well as the regions of Durham, Halton and York — are vying for Amazon’s new HQ2 headquarters.
      The six municipalities formally announced their joint bid for Amazon’s new headquarters in a September 13th, 2017 media release.
      The consortium is being led by Toronto Global, a federally and provincially funded consultation group aimed at improving Toronto’s economic appeal.


      Press Release: https://torontoglobal.ca/about-us/News/ ... s-to-Submi
    • Report Post
    • I'm also betting on Texas personally, but the dreamer in me does think it would be nice if it's North of the border.
    • Report Post
    • Toronto would be a great choice, but will also prove too controversial considering the current administration, which is vehemently championing companies to keep jobs in the US, despite having their own products made overseas. I can see it going to Austin.

      Amazon is really smart to announce things this way. Cities will be bending over backwards to cut out their competition and give the best deal possible to the company.

      Having Amazon in a city would have many benefits, but also some major drawbacks. An extra 50,000 high-earning employees in a city would affect housing prices, restaurants, traffic and general cost of living, which is already pretty high in Toronto. Seattle has already felt these effects.
    • Report Post
    • LOL @ Toronto getting it. Not with all the unions in power.

      Detroit is the PERFECT spot for this. Lots of land, close to the Canadian border, and people in desperate need of work. I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon can pull off not paying ANY land taxes.
    • Report Post
    • Electricity prices already have Toronto out of the running.
    • Report Post
    • I'm not sure if Austin would get it, but Toronto seems more unlikely, the advantages of Toronto:

      The Pros for Canada/Toronto:
      -No immigration issues
      -Lower salary costs
      -World class international airport, but both airports can get direct flights to SEA
      -High tech talent and close to UofT

      Cons:
      -Higher taxes, although salaries lower, the corporate taxes and employee benefits required by law are higher.
      -Crappy weather, high cost of rent
      -Potential cost of future salary increase, cost of living in Toronto is huge compared to Austin and its requiring higher salaries and the dollar fluctuates
      -Terrible traffic

      Both cities have high tech talent, but Austin already has all the tech giants, including the second largest Apple office in the world. If you want to get senior employees who want to raise a family, Austin seems more desirable. Plus TX is very business friendly, its at will employment. Austin already has a large IBM HW office, Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Samsung, Apple. Toronto has IBM SW. UT Austin is also a great Engineering school but Toronto has UofT so a wash.

      I thought Colorado but maybe too close to their current hub.
    • Report Post
    • TagYoureIt wrote:
      Sep 15th, 2017 5:46 pm
      LOL @ Toronto getting it. Not with all the unions in power.

      Detroit is the PERFECT spot for this. Lots of land, close to the Canadian border, and people in desperate need of work. I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon can pull off not paying ANY land taxes.
      Young techies making six-figure salaries will not want to move to Detroit though. Does Detroit even have a suitable labour pool?

      I will say that if (and it's a huge if) Amazon chose Detroit and was able to rejuvenate the city to its former glory, it would be an incredible American success story.
    • Report Post
    • Detroit is so techno.
      (music, that is :) )
    • Report Post