City plans ‘block­buster’ Ama­zon bid

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - VJOSA ISAI STAFF RE­PORTER With files from David Rider

In its strat­egy of pre­sent­ing a united front to beat out fierce com­pe­ti­tion for Ama­zon’s sec­ond North Amer­i­can head­quar­ters, Toronto is part­ner­ing with three other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and two may­ors to put for­ward a sin­gle, re­gional bid.

Three may­ors — Toronto’s John Tory, Mississauga’s Bon­nie Crom­bie and Bramp­ton’s Linda Jef­frey — and chair­per­sons of the Durham, Hal­ton and York re­gions have joined forces in the bid.

The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are part of Toronto Global, a new agency work­ing to bol­ster ef­forts to at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment to the re­gion.

Ama­zon is the agency’s first ma­jor project, and one that Tory be­lieves is un­par­al­leled in Canada when con­sid­er­ing its pos­si­bil­ity to gen­er­ate tens of thou­sands of jobs, bil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ment and po­ten­tially mas­sive spinoffs.

Seat­tle-based Ama­zon an­nounced its search for a home for “Ama­zon HQ2” on Sept. 7. The tech gi­ant is poised to in­vest “more than $5 bil­lion (U.S.) in con­struc­tion and grow this sec­ond head­quar­ters to in­clude as many as 50,000 high-pay­ing jobs.”

“It’s go­ing to be a block­buster bid be­cause it’s go­ing to have the re­gion bid­ding, hope­fully with some peo­ple who aren’t tech­ni­cally part of Toronto Global join­ing us,” Tory said.

Though Global Toronto was con­ceived to in­clude the im­me­di­ate GTA at the time of its launch in Fe­bru­ary, Tory said he hopes to part­ner with cities such as Water­loo and Hamil­ton in this bid and for fu­ture projects.

Tory said the tim­ing of this agency was per­fect for the Ama­zon bid, but cre­at­ing a re­gional part­ner­ship to en­tice for­eign in­vestors is some­thing he has been work­ing on for years.

“It was about ac­tu­ally de­cid­ing that when we went for­ward to at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, which this is, that we would do it as a re­gion be­cause we were stronger to­gether,” Tory said.

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