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

darwink

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I still think the death kneel of the odds on favourites highlighted is the transport time to Seattle. You have to offer a hell of a lot of incentives to make up for having a day of travel each way between two 'headquarters' of 50,000 people.


If the top concern is talent, that is different. Depends how hard they have found it to get talent to move to Seattle - is it the move itself or is it real estate prices and commute times that matter to future Amazonians?
 

Habanero

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I have to chuckle over all of these predictions. Nobody, including Amazon really knows yet, Amazon of course knows better than anyone, but they don't even know, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are constantly re-evaluating depending on what they receive for bids. East coast cities do have quite a bit of lag time when it comes to travel. Denver, SLC and Calgary would be much more amenable to that.

I was wondering about the talent aspect also, and the fact that Amazon's figure of 50K jobs may never actually be reached, and if it did, it could take a while. It won't happen overnight. Given Calgary's already decently skilled labour pool and strong international immigration, it might not be hard to meet that criteria.
I still think the death kneel of the odds on favourites highlighted is the transport time to Seattle. You have to offer a hell of a lot of incentives to make up for having a day of travel each way between two 'headquarters' of 50,000 people.


If the top concern is talent, that is different. Depends how hard they have found it to get talent to move to Seattle - is it the move itself or is it real estate prices and commute times that matter to future Amazonians?
 

Oddball

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I think it's pretty funny that the deepest insight presently available is an Irish betting site. It shows just how closed the process is thus far.
 

Cowtown

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Too funny! I don't think anyone, even Amazon knows right now. Interesting to read these articles because in the beginning I thought Calgary had no chance at all, and more and more it seems like they have a shot, or at least some chance.
 

Silence&Motion

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Surprised no one's brought this up yet (unless it was in another thread): Amazon announced its shortlist for HQ2 locations and Calgary didn't make the cut.

If you look at the cities that did make it, it's a pretty clear trend: large cities with large talent pools in the tech sector (mostly in the east and mid-west).

Three out of 20 locations in the DC area is interesting.

Unlike other posters, I'm of the belief that Amazon already knows where it wants to go and this whole thing is a publicity stunt and an effort to extract the most concessions from their target city. There is also speculation that they didn't even bother reading the 200-something submissions that they received in the first round, given that there was no feedback even to confirm their receipt. Even the shortlisted cities only received a four sentence long e-mail of notification.

 

UrbanWarrior

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Well, that's it then.
 

Surrealplaces

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I have to admit, I'd be excited if we were on the list, but I'm also relieved we're not. I'm not sure the long term result would have been good for Calgary, or any city that gets the bid, especially after sucking up to a private company of which you'd have no control over. You'd feel like you were their hostage forever, in fear of them leaving (see Cincinnati and Delta Airlines as example) Also have to wonder about how other companies would feel about their city going to bat to get a company who may be a competitor, and maybe taking your skilled workers. I'm beginning to think the whole thing could end up being a fail for the city that gets it, especially if it's a smaller city. Something students will study as an example of a grandiose plan gone wrong.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Well it's the first time it's ever been done on this scale, I believe. Especially in this fashion. Let's reconvene in 30 years and discuss the ramifications.
 

MichaelS

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I also feel that we didn't "suck up" too much, if at all. My understanding was very few actual, direct subsidies/tax breaks were offered. Hearing Mary Moran speak, it sounded like our bid was based mostly on the existing low business taxes, free health care, and available office space in Calgary.

I knew it would be an extremely long shot to get it, however I admit I was a bit surprised we didn't make the short list. I guess I just had rose coloured glasses on when looking at Calgary compared to everyone else.
 

darwink

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Amazon decided to weight available workforce highest, which lent itself to higher population areas. I think Columbus was the lowest population metro on the list, at 1.9 ish million, with a lot more within what might call the job shed - how far many are willing to move, maybe within 100 miles — that I've just made up.

Calgary is small by comparison.
 

Oddball

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I also feel that we didn't "suck up" too much, if at all. My understanding was very few actual, direct subsidies/tax breaks were offered. Hearing Mary Moran speak, it sounded like our bid was based mostly on the existing low business taxes, free health care, and available office space in Calgary.

I knew it would be an extremely long shot to get it, however I admit I was a bit surprised we didn't make the short list. I guess I just had rose coloured glasses on when looking at Calgary compared to everyone else.
I think I was the same way. From what I've heard, recent tax changes in the US really shot down a lot of Canadian bids. Additionally, it's hard not to notice that the importance of proximity to Seattle was overplayed in the decision making process. Only two of the short listed cities are really western. The fact that Miami is on the list is fairly indicative of how important a factor it was to the decision makers. It is literally the farthest possible city within the US.

Still, it isn't like Calgary didn't get anything from Amazon. We have a new distribution centre coming and perhaps there will be more in the future. Look at Vancouver. They didn't get short listed either, but Amazon is expanding there anyway. Who knows what the future holds.
 

Surrealplaces

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One of the thing I found interesting was in the beginning of the bid process cost of housing was being mentioned a lot, but many of the locations they are looking at have high housing costs. It seems like that was a non-factor in the end.
 

Oddball

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One of the thing I found interesting was in the beginning of the bid process cost of housing was being mentioned a lot, but many of the locations they are looking at have high housing costs. It seems like that was a non-factor in the end.
While speculative, I think @Silence&Motion motion's theory that they already know where they want to be carries some weight.
 

Beltline_B

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While speculative, I think @Silence&Motion motion's theory that they already know where they want to be carries some weight.
The more I look at the cities they’ve chosen, the more I think he’s right. I’m beginning to think that the various criteria they mentioned doesn’t really have anything to do with it at all. It’s 100% business, and what suits their business best.
 

Beltline_B

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I’m sort of relieved too. At the beginning, it was very exciting, but as time went on I started to think that maybe this wasn’t very good for the city.
Something like this is great for a bigger city where it’s potential negative impact on the economy is a lot less than it would be on a city like Calgary.
I have to admit, I'd be excited if we were on the list, but I'm also relieved we're not. I'm not sure the long term result would have been good for Calgary, or any city that gets the bid, especially after sucking up to a private company of which you'd have no control over. You'd feel like you were their hostage forever, in fear of them leaving (see Cincinnati and Delta Airlines as example) Also have to wonder about how other companies would feel about their city going to bat to get a company who may be a competitor, and maybe taking your skilled workers. I'm beginning to think the whole thing could end up being a fail for the city that gets it, especially if it's a smaller city. Something students will study as an example of a grandiose plan gone wrong.
 

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