The province is throwing its support behind a joint bid that could make Surrey or Vancouver the new city for a second Amazon headquarters.
Amazon already has a headquarters in Seattle, but is looking to expand to a second location in another North American city. The online megaretailer is expected to invest more than $5 billion in the construction of their second site – equal in size to its current Seattle headquarters – and create up to 50,000 jobs.
The Vancouver Economic Commission will be co-ordinating the $50,000 bid process, on the province’s dime, with the two cities.
The request for proposal is due Oct. 19 and will go up against other North American cities like Toronto, Boston and Detroit.
“B.C. offers unlimited possibilities for tech companies like Amazon. We have a fast-growing tech sector and several U.S. companies, such as Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Sony Imageworks, have already established a presence here because of the talent base that B.C. offers,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement.
Landford – a Vancouver Island community with plenty of land, according to its Mayor Stew Young – has also thrown its hat in the ring.
“The timing in Langford is perfect,” Young said earlier this month. “We have all the right boxes ticked off.”
But the province isn’t backing that bid quite yet.
Instead, the government said in a statement it “encourages the submission of comprehensive bids that establish why B.C. has a competitive edge over other North American jurisdictions,” and support for those bids will be considered.
Meanwhile, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced his city’s bid earlier in September, calling Vancouver a “world-class innovation ecosystem.”
Surrey had yet to announce it would be viying to host the new headquarters until Friday. The province, Vancouver and Surrey have formed a steering committee, while the proposal will be compiled by the firm Deloitte.
“Metro Vancouver, particularly Surrey, has a robust tech sector that attracts and develops new talent through our world-class post-secondary institutions,” Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said in a statement Friday.
Hepner said she’s aware of the robust competition that comes with a North-American-based bid, but that Metro Vancouver is host to “world-class post-secondary institutions.”
“But you never know,” she said. “And [Surrey] does have the capacity to absorb all 18-million square feet if we had to with all the private players we’re talking with.”