Ottawa strikes task force in bid to woo Amazon

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is lining up beside other Canadian suitors hoping to woo Amazon after the U.S. online retail giant announced it’s on the hunt for a location for its second North American headquarters.

The Seattle-based company said Thursday it’s scouting locations for something it’s calling HQ2. The company says it will invest $5 billion US to develop the new site, which will house as many as 50,000 workers in more than eight million square feet of space within a decade.

The site will be a “full equal” to the company’s current Seattle headquarters, where it has been based since 2010.

“Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs,” founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said.

On Friday Watson announced he’s asked Invest Ottawa and the city’s economic development branch to explore what he called a “great opportunity” for the city.

Task force struck

“As an innovation and research-intensive city, counting a bilingual and culturally diverse high-tech and telecommunications workforce of more than 77,000 leading professionals, Ottawa is well positioned to host this Amazon campus,” Watson said in a statement.

Watson said the city is holding discussions with the province, the federal government, the City of Gatineau, Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions, key utilities including Hydro Ottawa and other industry and community leaders in a combined effort to bring a bid forward.

Representatives from those groups will form a task force which will shortly to work on the city’s bid, Watson said.

“My hope is that we will be placing a strong and convincing bid to host Amazon HQ2 in our nation’s capital, which would greatly benefit our community, attracting tens of thousands of jobs and helping diversify our economy, Watson said.

Ottawa joins Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary in formally announcing its desire to host Amazon HQ2.

The deadline for bids is Oct. 19.

Original article can be found here.

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