Massive Amazon Headquarters Now a Possibility for Halton Again
A few short months ago, it looked like Toronto—and by extension, Brampton and other surrounding municipalities—had lost out on HQ2, Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
But now the future of one of HQ2’s locations is uncertain, and the GTA is having another kick at the can.
Back in November, The global retail giant announced that, after reviewing a shortlist of 20 potential cities that included a bid by the Toronto Region through the investment firm Toronto Global, they selected New York City and northern Virginia as the site for their HQ2.
In a surprise move, Amazon recently canceled its plans to build a massive facility in New York City. According to a recent New York Times article, the e-commerce giant pulled out after facing backlash from lawmakers, progressive activists and union leaders who took issue with the company receiving nearly $3 billion in government incentives.
On Feb. 14, Toronto Mayor John Tory took to Twitter to announce that the Toronto Region is still interested in having Amazon set up shop in the area.
I remain so proud of the Toronto Region's @Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities I'm confident it has opened up for our city.— John Tory (@JohnTory) February 14, 2019
In a series of Tweets, Tory said that he’s proud of the Toronto Region’s Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities it has opened up for the city.
“Our bid did not offer any incentives to entice Amazon to choose the Toronto Region and competed solely on the unique strengths of our region - we have the talent, the quality of life, the vibrancy and the economic strength,” Tory wrote, adding that he reached out to Amazon last week to let them know that city/region “remains a great place to grow and to invest.”
Back in January 2018, Brampton—and everyone in Toronto and the GTA—found out that the Toronto region had been identified as one of the top 20 contenders for the massive brand’s second North American headquarters (better known as HQ2).
At the time, no one knew that Amazon would propose splitting HQ2 into two separate facilities.
Toronto submitted a regional bid for HQ2 in 2017. The regional bid was designed to allow Amazon to set up shop in Toronto or its many surrounding cities. The Toronto region’s bid included Brampton, Toronto, Mississauga, Durham Region, York Region, and Halton Region
Toronto was the only Canadian city on the shortlist.
The new, smaller HQ2 will create up to 25,000 jobs and be part of an overall $5 billion investment.
While it’s not yet clear if Amazon will look into the Toronto Region’s offer to reconsider the area as an ideal spot for HQ2, it’s safe to assume that some residents will express the same concerns that activists and lawmakers in NYC had.
Critics who decried Amazon’s arrival and the generous government incentives (according to Wired, Amazon was expected to receive almost $3 billion in tax breaks and other government incentives—as well as a helicopter pad for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) said that the company’s arrival would further gentrify the city, effectively making it even less affordable for average residents.
With Toronto and the GTA boasting some of the highest home prices in the country, concerns about gentrification will most certainly abound.
I am so proud of the New Yorkers that stood up to the richest man in the world, and a huge corporation. Incentives? We, the people, are tired of corporate greed. I only hope that the people of Toronto say the same. #AmazonHQ2 #capitalism— Pcofwork (@pcofwork) February 15, 2019
Others, however, are encouraging the province to remind Amazon that the region is “open for business.”
Would you like to see Amazon set up shop in the GTA?
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