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Calgary courting Amazon like it‘s the ‘30s

(FinancialPress) — Calgary has shortlisted itself as one of the front runners for Amazon‘s new $5 billion second headquarters project. In the 42 days since the project was first announced by the tech giant, the city has developed a strong campaign to earn its graces.

Thursday marked the official inauguration of the courtship process, as a 200-page bid package was hand-delivered by the city. City officials believe that the benefits showcased in it will go a long way in persuading the company towards bringing the $4 billion investment home.

The team that put together the Calgary bid is confident in what was presented, even within a shark tank of competition. At least 60 other cities have made or are preparing bids for the tech company to bring up to 50,000 jobs to their city.

The Calgary pitch rests on 4 critical pillars: workforce, real estate, quality of life and affordability. Mary Moran, chief executive of Calgary Economic Department, said that “there is no other city, in my mind, that has all of these things to offer Amazon on Day 1. Although we want to make a creative incentive program for them that will be tied to job creation and economic impact, the built-in incentives far outweigh anything that we would be able to put together or any other city would be able to put together,” 

While no tax incentives are presented in the bid, several other routes of massive savings were delineated by the bid team – namely, 14 to 18% savings overall in everything from lease rates, taxes, electricity and construction costs. Labour and health care could signify savings of up to $2.1 billion annually.

Labor demographics are a key factor for Amazon – one that Matt Day, a business writer for the Seattle Times, feels that the company could cover by locating itself in Canada.

“There’s a school of thought out there that they really will prioritize workforce above whatever discounts they can get on their real estate build out.“ – Matt Day.


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