By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The Greater Toronto Area, including locations in Durham Region, has made the cut as a top 20 contender for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
The U.S.-based retail giant announced its shortlist of potential suitors for the planned $5 billion facility, which the company says will create 50,000 high-paying jobs. Toronto was the only Canadian city in the final 20 candidates.
Kathy Weiss, director of economic development and tourism for the Region of Durham, welcomed the news.
“Durham Region is delighted to be among the finalists short-listed for the Amazon HQ2 bid,” Weiss says. “We look forward to working closely with the rest of our dynamic team at Toronto Global, as we showcase all of the amazing attributes that the Toronto Region has to offer.”
Weiss believes factors such as Durham’s quality of life, labour pool, and infrastructure makes it a possible contender for Amazon’s final selection.
The Toronto-bid includes Ajax’s Carruthers Creek Business Park and Pickering’s proposed Seaton community as viable locations in Durham Region.
Other submitted sites include locations in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Vaughan, Milton, Oakville, and Burlington.
Toronto Global, an organization that receives federal, provincial and municipal funding with the mandate of attracting international businesses to the GTA, worked in conjunction with municipalities, including Durham Region, in preparing the bid.
Julia Sakas, director of marketing and communications for Toronto Global, says it is unclear if there any specific sites in the bid that Amazon may prefer.
“At this point, it is the Toronto Region bid that has caught Amazon’s attention, and we are waiting to hear from them on next steps and what specific information they require from us at this point,” Salas told The Oshawa Express. “We do not yet have any indication of which location within the greater Toronto Region they are interested in for their new HQ.”
In all, 238 bids were submitted for the Amazon project from 54 provinces, states, territories and districts across North America.
The company has indicated it will make a final selection sometime in 2018.