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Amazon looking to open second HQ office. Does YYC have a chance?

Surrealplaces

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Interesting article makes it looks like Calgary has a chance if Canada is in the mix. There are a few things in the article that don't seem quite right.

Pretty sure Ottawa qualifies in this category.
  • Large available labour pool, where "more than one in eight workers is in an industry related to tech, science or professional services." That eliminates Edmonton and Ottawa.
Calgary's has been high over the last 5 years, but not the last two. That said, I think the language situation eliminates Montreal.
  • Factoring in strong job growth of at least five per cent over five years. That eliminates Montreal.
Calgary would be best Canadian destination for Amazon's HQ2, data cruncher says
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...runchers-analysis-jens-von-bergmann-1.4298204
 
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Oddball

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Some analyses discussed in this Financial Post article suggest that Calgary and Denver are the cities currently best positioned to compete for "HQ2" based on the criteria outlined by Amazon.

While it seems to me that Calgary is at least a plausible choice I just don't see it happening. My gut (known source of many worthwhile prognostications... and gasses) tells me they'll go East Coast. Pittsburgh comes to mind. Maybe a sub-urb of NYC or DC.
 

Oddball

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Here's Amazon's actual "Request for Proposal" document.

Thinking of some of their requirements in terms of that Calgary has to offer, what 500,000sqft+ buildings would be available for occupation for them? Obviously Brookfield is there, but how much of it remains available for occupation? I'd heard most of the vacancy was in class B-C space. I figure Amazon would probably only want the top of the tops.

It also seems like they'd be keen to build new structures of their own over the longer term. I wonder what sites would best fit the urban campus they envision in the document. Specifically, they want something like their current Seattle campus. It looks like they have around a 10-12 buildings of varying sizes in close proximity with some of these under construction or proposed. Are there any locations in Calgary already that could support that kind of a presence. As stated in the RFP and the website, the Seattle campus is home to about 40,000 members of their work force. So the 50,000 person estimate would require similar-to-more space over the long term (2027+).

They also state that they aren't 100% married to another urban campus and would explore the option of a greenfield site. What locations currently exist in the city? Bearing in mind that access to mass transit "at site" is a requirement outlined in the document. Maybe some place North of the current NE end of the Blue Line comes to mind, but I'm guess they'd have to rezone a bunch of stuff of that. Or down in Seton, but transit there is a long way off even if they did hypothetically
expedite the South leg to appease Amazon.

For me a couple of locations for a new downtown come to mind. The area around Centre and 12th S in the Beltline has alot of room for expansion if they want to build their own buildings and in short order it will be the site of a Greenline station. The long strip of surface parking between 8th and 4th streets SW along either side of the CPR mainline is also interesting. As is the area around 14th street SW where the Beltline meets Sunalta. Right in the core, if they revived the Oxford tower, First Canadian Place II and maybe go after the parking lot at the corner of 2nd street and 6th ave SW they could have a couple of sparkling new towers for themselves all within a few blocks.

From the RFP:

upload_2017-9-21_13-58-58.png


A hypothetical downtown/Beltline site checks most of those boxes. I think the only one that doesn't really work is the "access to major highways and arterial roads."
 

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Beltline_B

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Yeah Denver is not a bad choice, I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up there among some of those other cities that have been mentioned. It's too bad Amazon is going to need so much space over the long term if it was just 1,000,000 ft.² they needed long term I could see them doing some sort of swap with EnCana to get the Bow or maybe Brookfield place. I've heard that EnCana I would like to get out of the Bow if they could.
The problem is I think Encanas price per square foot is pretty high, Amazon would probably want to build some sort of campus and keep the office space cost quite low
 

darwink

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Office space is such a small portion of the cost for employees, having space available when they need it is more important than cost. Even if building new, not being held up in endless municipal planning on a brown field is the benefit.
 

Surrealplaces

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I can't speak for Amazon, but I would bet that they will build a campus wherever they end up. As Darwink said, they're going to pick a place where they can easily expand. An awesome story if they came in and took Brookfield Place or the Bow, but they would be limited after that. I'm pretty sure wherever they end up will be a large campus area near an airport and interstates, etc.. If they ever chose Calgary, the area near the airport seems like a good fit, you have your airport, and you have hwy 1 and 2 very close and easily accessible via the ring road. Lots of room to develop.
 

darwink

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I think people are confused about being accessible to roads and being suburban. The way I read the RFP had a look of urban core fringe to it. The benefits of the core, but the land to develop. Pretty much exactly where amazon has expanded so far in Seattle!

I could see them going into an existing building for the first phase, but then moving when the first and second phase is finished construction elsewhere. Since the final build out is to a required 8 million square feet, even if a completely empty Bow, then Bow + old Telus + Bow South Block + CBE Site + West of Old Telus were built out, you still need the potential for another 3 million square feet.
Captureamaz.PNG


I bet that Brookfield could proposed using BP in the initial phase, switching to somewhere else later. Outside chance could use BP 2,400,000 Sq Ft+ Suncor 1,707,791 Sq Ft + Fifth Avenue Place 1,427,796 Sq Ft? Maybe with a special kitty-corner +30/45 that was secure zone to secure zone BP-Suncor?.
 

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Spring2008

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I know somebody involved in the bid for Cgy. Apparently Cgy's right up there for top contenders, with Dallas and Denver two other notables. CEO and executives don't want an east coast location due to too much of a time zone difference and need to travel between offices. Calgary has a very strong chance at this. Vancouver also checks the boxes but cost of living eliminates them from being a top contender. Let's see what happens, this would be massive in terms of direct jobs and spin-offs.
 

Oddball

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While I'm sure picking some far-flung field in order to build a non-urban campus gives them a greater level of control and cost effectiveness for what they're trying to accomplish. Something about their ethos suggests to me that they'd prefer to be downtown.

One advantage Calgary also possesses is that the +15 system can help give them that campus feel even if their first spaces aren't immediately adjacent.


I wonder if the political factors are more for or against a Canadian city. Certainly, moving cross-border makes them a more global company and does provide some political hedging. On the flip side, mercantilist sentiment seems to be on the rise in the US and elsewhere. Do they have any real backlash to fear by picking a Canadian city, or is it just a perceived risk?

I know somebody involved in the bid for Cgy. Apparently Cgy's right up there for top contenders, with Dallas and Denver two other notables. CEO and executives don't want an east coast location due to too much of a time zone difference and need to travel between offices. Calgary has a very strong chance at this. Vancouver also checks the boxes but cost of living eliminates them from being a top contender. Let's see what happens, this would be massive in terms of direct jobs and spin-offs.
Nice to hear. I have to prevent myself from getting too optimistic when I hear stuff like this. :D

I'm surprised time zones are such a factor. I figured with the balance of population in NA being skewed so far to the east that being in the midst of the great population centres would be a bigger factor.

Also, The New York Times picked Denver by process of elimination. Operating only on a list of American cities.
 
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Oddball

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View attachment 121859

Remember that old Gateway rumour? Maybe someone will throw that in the pot.
Looks like you had an eye on some of the same locations as me. I didn't consider the GSL site, but I suppose when someone says they'll hire 50,000 people and send 5 billion on infrastructure, maybe then you remediate the creosote.

I was thinking more of the space where your two circles on the west side of downtown overlap.
 

MichaelS

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Doesn't Currie Barracks have plans for a large office campus? Partner that space with the Westmount corporate Campus, and the lands to the south of 50th Ave as well. Multiple BRT lines (SW BRT, 306), direct access to Crowchild Trail, part of a dense, mixed use neighbourhood. Just a thought.

How much room does Quarry Park have left? With a Greenline Station, that would be pretty attractive as well. And, as a potential for somewhere a bit further out, but would have excellent roadway connections and a planned BRT (which I am sure would get implemented if Amazon set up shop) is Providence, in the SW of Calgary, to the west of Evergreen.

Also, I feel I should really know this, but what/where is Gateway again?
 

Surrealplaces

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If it's a case of them looking at an urban core type set up, Calgary has good options for that too. A few good options actually.
The areas I like are the West village area, and the east end of the Beltline.

I think people are confused about being accessible to roads and being suburban. The way I read the RFP had a look of urban core fringe to it. The benefits of the core, but the land to develop. Pretty much exactly where amazon has expanded so far in Seattle!

I could see them going into an existing building for the first phase, but then moving when the first and second phase is finished construction elsewhere. Since the final build out is to a required 8 million square feet, even if a completely empty Bow, then Bow + old Telus + Bow South Block + CBE Site + West of Old Telus were built out, you still need the potential for another 3 million square feet.
View attachment 121857

I bet that Brookfield could proposed using BP in the initial phase, switching to somewhere else later. Outside chance could use BP 2,400,000 Sq Ft+ Suncor 1,707,791 Sq Ft + Fifth Avenue Place 1,427,796 Sq Ft? Maybe with a special kitty-corner +30/45 that was secure zone to secure zone BP-Suncor?.
 

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