‘Throw a hat in the ring’

Mayor Mike Sav­age has sig­nalled the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will put to­gether a bid for the Seat­tle-based company’s HQ2 HAL­I­FAX IS A LONG SHOT But a lo­cal busi­ness prof says it doesn’t hurt to

StarMetro Halifax - - FRONT PAGE - Zane Wood­ford Metro | hal­i­fax

Land­ing a new Ama­zon head­quar­ters in Hal­i­fax is a long shot, but a lo­cal busi­ness pro­fes­sor said it doesn’t hurt to try.

The Seat­tle-based e-com­merce company put out a re­quest for pro­pos­als last week invit­ing cities across North Amer­ica to pitch a site for its sec­ond head­quar­ters, “HQ2.” The company said HQ2 would em­ploy 50,000 peo­ple at an av­er­age salary ex­ceed­ing $100,000.

Ama­zon is look­ing for met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas of more than one mil­lion peo­ple, “sta­ble and busi­ness-friendly” en­vi­ron­ments, lo­ca­tions with the po­ten­tial to “at­tract and re­tain strong tech­ni­cal tal­ent,” and a site of more than 500,000 square feet with direct ac­cess to mass transit.

Hal­i­fax Mayor Mike Sav­age tweeted last week, “#Hal­i­fax is on it: port, rail, air, tal­ent, am­bi­tion,” and told CBC the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would put in a “wow bid” for HQ2.

“You’ve got to throw a hat into the ring, but I would think we’d be a bit of a long shot,” NSCC busi­ness pro­fes­sor Ed Mchugh said in an in­ter­view.

Mchugh said a big­ger city would pro­vide more of the type of em­ploy­ees Ama­zon is look­ing for, and many cities in Canada have “much stronger transit.”

Nev­er­the­less, he thinks Hal­i­fax should sub­mit a bid, if only for the pol­i­tics. “I think you throw your hat in the ring for op­tics,” Mchugh said.

“From a po­lit­i­cal point of view, I think you have ci­ti­zens who say, ‘Why wouldn’t you? Who knows?’”

Dart­mouth Coun. Sam Austin said ev­ery city in North Amer­ica is go­ing af­ter this con­tract, and it’s clear Hal­i­fax doesn’t qual­ify.

“It’s fun to dream, but it seems like a long shot,” he said.

Austin said he’ll weigh in full if the idea comes to coun­cil, but said, “there’s prob­a­bly bet­ter places we can put the time and re­sources.”

“It doesn’t hurt to do some work, but I wouldn’t want to see a whole lot put into be­cause I don’t think we’re re­ally in the run­ning based on what Ama­zon put out,” he said.

Mchugh said at some point, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity does have to do a cost-ben­e­fit analysis.

“If you get into this game and all of the sud­den you dis­cover that it’s just go­ing to cost way too much money for a low-prob­a­bil­ity win, then you pull back out at some point be­fore you spend big dol­lars,” he said. “And then you ex­plain to your ci­ti­zens, ‘Look we tried, but the price tag is just out of our league.’”

i think you throw your hat in the ring for op­tics. ed Mchugh

The As­so­ci­ated PRESS

Ama­zon CEO Jeff Be­zos walks on­stage for the launch of the new Ama­zon Fire Phone in Seat­tle in June 2014. The e-com­merce gi­ant is look­ing to ex­pand its op­er­a­tions and open up a new head­quar­ters out­side its home base of Seat­tle.

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