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Amazon Second HQ

jje1000

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I don't get it. Is Amazon trying to hire co-op students? Why is it a consideration that MIT and Harvard are nearby? MIT and Harvard grads for the most part (i) aren't from Boston area anyway (ii) can move anywhere if the money and the other conditions are good. It's not like their grads have an overwhelming preference towards staying where they are once they finish their degrees. We're talking about super ambitious unmarried 22 year-olds.
It might be a desire to be alongside the MIT/Harvard laboratories- and to be close to the AI/tech research they're doing.

I also wonder if another location might be in South Boston near the convention centre. Still a lot of land to develop there as well.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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One potential downside to Boston is climate change - it may not bode well if the intention is to set up shop for the long term considering both HQs will potentially be vulnerable.

AoD
 
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old boy

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I'm glad Toronto is in the conversation, for the PR alone, even though politics will decide where this outfit ends up, and I can't see it being outside the US of A. Why wouldn't the company want a presence on the east coast and Boston can afford to be coy. Besides, Trump would burst a vessel, but hey....
 

TheTigerMaster

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One potential downside to Boston is climate change - it may not bode well if the intention is to set up shop for the long term considering both HQs will potentially be vulnerable.

AoD
Can you elaborate on how climate change is expected to impact Boston? I assume stronger and more frequent hurricanes and increased flood risk (similar to NYC)
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Can you elaborate on how climate change is expected to impact Boston? I assume stronger and more frequent hurricanes and increased flood risk (similar to NYC)
Not even a matter of stronger hurricanes - but the inevitable sea level rise alone is sufficient to be a risk factor. And like New York post-Sandy, just how much public will is there to do anything until the truly catastrophic happens (because even near misses appears to be insufficient)?

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2015/10/14/boston-map-climate-change/

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/environment/preparing-for-a-shrinking-boston/

AoD
 
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differential

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I'm glad Toronto is in the conversation, for the PR alone, even though politics will decide where this outfit ends up, and I can't see it being outside the US of A. Why wouldn't the company want a presence on the east coast and Boston can afford to be coy. Besides, Trump would burst a vessel, but hey....
Boston will not be in the running. Mayor Tory seems scared of Boston, North America's most overrated city, but as far as this HQ is concerned, Boston just doesn't make sense. COL and talent costs are very high, space for a development of this size close to the city is non-existent (and very expensive), and Boston is not going to put up competitive incentives.

I think people are selling Toronto short here. We can dismiss the "international border" issue simply because Amazon specified North America in its RFP - not just the USA. This is telling that they are seriously considering Canadian cities, or that the border is not an issue for them.

Being in Canada insulates Amazon from political uncertainty in the US, and diversifies its presence. It also lets Amazon skirt US immigration laws and hire more people from around the world. So there are advantages to being Canadian.

Toronto's Advantages

Toronto is North America's fourth largest city, and one of the most urban. It's on the EST time zone, which gives Amazon the full 12 hours of coverage between the two HQs.

Toronto is ranked as the 4th most livable city in the world: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/08/16/most-liveable-cities-2017_a_23079370/

This makes Toronto a desirable place for talent to want to move to (and indeed the Economist's rankings were intended to be as a gauge for this).

Toronto's tech talent is among the highest quality - and cheapest - in North America:



In fact it's cheaper to run a tech business in Toronto than the cheapest US city, which is Oklahoma City.

The University of Toronto is the leading university in North America for AI. Amazon will be moving heavily into AI with Alexa. The University of Waterloo is one of the top CS schools in North America, just one hour away from Toronto. Amazon already employs many U of Waterloo grads.

Toronto is the fastest growing tech city in North America, adding more tech jobs last year than SF and NYC combined. It is the 6th best market for tech jobs in North America behind San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Washington D.C., and Atlanta, and fourth largest overall.



http://www.cbre.ca/EN/mediacentre/P...t-in-CBRE’s-Annual-Tech-Talent-Scorecard.aspx

So no shortage of talent, or potential for growth of the tech market. Both key criteria in Amazon's RFP. Quite simply Toronto offers the highest quality talent at the lowest cost of any competing city in North America.

Then you have infrastructure. Pearson is a world class international airport with direct flights to all of Amazon's desired locations and more. It's also just 25 minutes away from downtown via the brand new UP Express train. The much hated Gardiner also gives immediate highway access to the city centre - another Amazon RFP requirement.

Amazon will prefer to locate its HQ close to city centre as they did in Seattle, and there is plenty of opportunity here in terms of development space, locations, and cost. And what a city centre to be located in! 2nd largest downtown population and 3rd largest downtown core of any city in North America. And the most diverse city in the world.

Toronto has also proven that it can add housing with its condo construction boom. Downtown Toronto continues to densify like few other cities on the continent. Where is Boston going to add housing for 50k additional people? In its tiny urban core that is 1/4 the size of ours?

Toronto is ranked as the most tax competitive major city in the world for business: http://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/canada-ranked-worlds-most-tax-friendly-for-business

Toronto is a very liberal city, something tech companies prefer.

Toronto and Canada are both very stable business environments, with very high reputations.

So really it comes down to highlighting Toronto's strengths over competing cities, and offering competitive incentive packages.

Amazon isn't stupid, they know about all of this, which is why they kept this a North America competition. The only message I have for John Tory is don't sell our city short!



And Boston can suck it.
 
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jje1000

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Some conflicting news:

Ontario won't offer Amazon billions in grants, bid leader says

The man heading up Ontario's effort to lure Amazon to the province said Thursday that while the province would consider sensible incentives, the bid will not offer billions in subsidies to the tech giant.

Providing large taxpayer subsidies to the firm wouldn't be fair to other companies that have set up shop in Ontario with little or no government assistance, said Ed Clark, who was appointed last week by Premier Kathleen Wynne to head up the Greater Toronto Region's bid to become the home of Amazon's new corporate headquarters.

The region's bid to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will highlight other strengths such as the province's skilled workforce, Clark said, adding that the province would be willing to make other contributions like helping the company secure land.
[...]
Clark said the two biggest roadblocks a Toronto region bid will face are the pressure to spend large amounts on tax incentives and potential blowback to the firm created by U.S. President Donald Trump's push to keep American companies from moving operations to other countries.
http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/onta...-billions-in-grants-bid-leader-says-1.3590038

But earlier from Duguid's mouth:
Ontario enlists former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark to help with Amazon headquarters bid

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/ne...with-amazon-headquarters-bid/article36221592/

Brad Duguid, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Growth, says his government had given out $3-billion in various subsidies to businesses since 2004, resulting in $27-billion in private investment and 170,000 jobs.

He said his government was willing to put up significant subsidies if it meant Amazon would put its massive complex somewhere in the province: "You're either in the game of attracting these kinds of jobs, or you're not. … We're no stranger to this kind of competition."

The federal government was also expected to be involved. In a statement, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains was noncommittal about providing subsidies for any Amazon bid, but appeared open to the idea.
https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/re...nd-headquarters-in-n-america/article36194091/
It's probably one of those scenarios where the province says one thing publicly and then does something else in the proposal, considering the fact that the province has offered grants (more in the line of millions) to companies setting up shop here. Billions in grants would reflect badly on the Liberals and provide easy ammunition to the Conservatives and NDP.

That- or things have changed since Duguid first talked.
 
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WislaHD

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In terms of site locations, East Harbour seems like such an obvious contender. (If not unfortunately 2 or so years 'late' for Amazon's timeline, not even mentioning the DRL.)

They do not even need to have Amazon as the sole tenant of their complex. Amazon could expand organically along Lakeshore, Eastern, Commissioners and in the Portlands in the 2025+ timeline. I see this as really attractive and a selling feature for East Harbour site towards Amazon.

When they mention 2 major Universities, I count 3: UofT, York, Waterloo. Toronto is a world leader in AI, which Bezos is interested in. Whatever Toronto and Govts were thinking of wasting on an Olympic folly should be rolled into this venture. Lastly, while not connected I wonder how the Google proposal to develop a site downtown plays into this?

Ryerson is not that insignificant.
It is growing and right in downtown Toronto too.

And for that matter, Ontario has a wealth of reputable universities besides the above 4 - Queens, Western, Wilfred Laurier, Carlton, Guelph, McMaster, UOIT.

The undergrads who attended those universities aren't going to be staying in Guelph or London after graduation, they are going to locate to where the jobs are at - Toronto's tech sector.
 

Epi

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This may be one of those times where it's good that our mayor was a former CEO of a large technology(ish) company. I'm sure that at the very least he knows what a large corporation would be looking for and would have a better idea how to sell it.
 

differential

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This may be one of those times where it's good that our mayor was a former CEO of a large technology(ish) company. I'm sure that at the very least he knows what a large corporation would be looking for and would have a better idea how to sell it.

I'm worried about Tory, quotes like this:

"Mayor John Tory told reporters he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't take a shot at bringing that kind of economic boost to his city."

Ok so he's doing it just because it's his job, not very enthusiastic.

"However, the mayor says there's no guarantee Toronto will come out on top when Amazon makes its decision in 2018, especially given the potential tax breaks rival cities and states may lavish on Amazon."

Defeatist attitude before the games have even begun.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-bid-for-amazon-hq2-1.4281980

“And it’s going to be a tough competition — we’re up against very formidable competitors like Boston and others, but we’ll do our best.”

No you won't do your best, you will win!

Asked if Toronto’s chances of gaining Amazon HQ2 were on par with the Maple Leafs winning it all, Tory said, “You can’t predict these things ... it’s about the same as predicting who’s going to win the Stanley Cup. You don’t know.”

Defeatist attitude again.

Generally hearing Tory talk on this subject makes it sound like he doesn't believe in our chances but is putting a bid forward anyway. He sees Boston and NYC and Washington and gives up.

The fact that Toronto is the third largest film city in North America - an area Amazon is expanding with Prime video - is also another advantage hopefully not lost on Tory.
 
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