Hip­ness a pri­or­ity for Ama­zon: Tory

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS -

TORONTO — arts, cul­ture and other qual­ity-of-life is­sues were top of mind for ama­zon.com of­fi­cials in dis­cussing toronto as a pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion for its sec­ond head­quar­ters with the city’s mayor.

Hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity, im­mi­gra­tion and tran­sit were also hot top­ics in the talks ear­lier this year, Mayor John tory said.

“they spent what some peo­ple would prob­a­bly find a sur­pris­ing amount of time on what we’ll call, the sort of arts and cul­ture, the gen­eral kind of life in the city,” tory said at an in­ter­view at bloomberg’s toronto of­fices. “and this as a liv­able city.”

toronto is the only city out­side of the u.s. to make the short­list for ama­zon’s sec­ond head­quar­ters.

dubbed HQ2, the com­pany said the de­vel­op­ment is slated to cost more than $5 bil­lion and cre­ate 50,000 jobs.

tech is al­ready boom­ing in North amer­ica’s fourth­biggest city, with firms in­clud­ing Mi­crosoft, uber tech­nolo­gies and Shopify an­nounc­ing plans for thou­sands of jobs in the past few months.

choos­ing toronto would pro­vide a hedge against in­creas­ingly re­stric­tive u.s. im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, a big con­cern of tech com­pa­nies since the elec­tion of don­ald trump as pres­i­dent; in­vest­ing that much in­vest­ment out­side the coun­try could also raise his ire.

the mayor said ama­zon was “in­scrutable” in terms of dis­clos­ing whether toronto was a se­ri­ous con­tender.

Still, he said ama­zon was “very flat­ter­ing” about the di­ver­sity and depth of the city’s tal­ent base, many of which have made their way south to the com­pany’s u.s. op­er­a­tions, tory said.

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