Halifax doesn't make the cut for new $5-billion Amazon HQ2
Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 18, 2018 10:54AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:28PM EST
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says he's hanging up a "Go Toronto" banner, after the Ontario capital emerged as the only Canadian bid to be shortlisted by Amazon Inc. for its second North American headquarters.
"I'm rooting for Mayor (John) Tory and I hope that they do well," he said Thursday after Halifax failed to make the list of top 20 cities in the running for the $5-billion headquarters.
While Savage admitted he's not surprised with the outcome and that Halifax was "always a long shot," he suggested the city's bid was akin to a first date with the e-commerce and cloud computing giant.
"We now have a relationship with Amazon. I'm quite confident we'll have an opportunity to bid on more work with them." he said. "The bid was always built around having a longer-term impact than just on this particular project."
A spokesperson for the Seattle-based company said the process helped inform Amazon about several communities across North America it will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.
Amazon received 238 applications for the opportunity and said narrowing it down to 20 was very tough.
The other 19 locations it will consider are all in the U.S., and include New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Nashville.
Amazon said it plans to choose a location later this year after diving deeper into the proposals from its top cities.
Halifax's decision to enter the race for Amazon's new headquarters, expected to employ 50,000 workers, generated controversy in the city.
Critics said Amazon would turn Halifax into a congested company town, threatening the quality of life that makes the city so appealing.
Besides, they argued, Halifax lacks the workforce and public infrastructure to accommodate the new headquarters.
But Savage disagrees: "I do believe we could have done it. I do believe it would have been a challenge for the municipality but I think it would have been tremendous for us."
There are always naysayers, he added, whether it's against the city's popular new skating oval, the new central library or the Discovery Centre.
Savage pointed out that all of those turned out well, and the same would have been the case for the Amazon headquarters.
"This city is not worried about people who don't think we can compete or don't think that we're big enough or don't think that we're smart enough. We are all of those things."