Mississauga Could Soon Be Home to Amazon’s Second North American Headquarters

Mississauga—and everyone in Toronto and the GTA—woke up to some huge and exciting news this morning: the Toronto region has been identified as one of the top 20 contenders for the massive brand's second North American headquarters (HQ2).

Toronto submitted a regional bid for HQ2 in 2017, meaning that Amazon could—should it select the region—set up shop in Toronto or its many surrounding cities. In fact, the Toronto region's bid includes Brampton, Toronto, Mississauga, Durham Region, York Region, and Halton Region

"This is great news and confirms what we already know: Mississauga and the Toronto region are great places to invest and do business," Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement. "We are the only international destination on the shortlist."

Toronto is indeed the only Canadian city on the shortlist.

Other cities being considered by Amazon include Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh, Washington, Atlanta, Miami and more.

You can see the full list of contenders in the graphic below:

Graphic courtesy of Amazon

The news is indeed exciting, as the company said it expects HQ2 to be as big and bustling as its Seattle operation. It's also expected to create significant employment opportunities for local residents. Last year, the company said it plans on investing over $5 billion in constructing and operating HQ2. The headquarters will also create 50,000 new jobs for its chosen city.

"We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a previous statement. "Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in upfront and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We're excited to find a second home."

"Full equal" is no joke - HQ1 in Seattle is massive. Amazon's first headquarters boasts 33 buildings, takes up 8.1 million square feet, houses 24 restaurants and cafes, employs over 40,000 people, and has created 53,000 additional jobs across Seattle as a result of their investments.

Further, Amazon said in an earlier statement that it "estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy - every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the city's economy overall."

While the news is encouraging, an earlier third-party report indicated that the Toronto region might have its work cut out for it when it comes to competing with Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Still, the City of Mississauga is optimistic.

"We are very excited and encouraged that Mississauga and the Toronto Region have been shortlisted as part of Amazon's desire to open the company's new second headquarters - HQ2," says Crombie.

"Professionals from Mississauga's Economic Development Office have worked closely with Toronto Global to align Mississauga's value proposition with the anticipated $5-billion US investment, projected to create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. Through Toronto Global, Mississauga will continue to work with Amazon to move ahead with our business case to attract this transformational investment to the Toronto Region - which will provide economic benefits to communities throughout the Toronto Region.”

As for what makes Mississauga in particular a good contender, Crombie says the municipality's growing City Centre area is an ideal location.

"Mississauga's thriving, growing and transit-oriented downtown provides global-business giant, Amazon, the opportunity to invest, expand and remain ahead of the competition on nearly 180 acres of potential lands located within our mixed-use downtown core," she says.

"As the Toronto Global submission highlights, Mississauga's premier site is adjacent to the Square One Shopping Centre, a major regional retail and commercial destination hub, along with Mississauga City Hall; Central Library - Mississauga's largest public library; the Living Arts Centre; Mississauga Art Gallery; Sheridan College and the College's Pilon School of Business; Celebration Square; along with multiple restaurants and amenities. The University of Toronto Mississauga - part of Canada's largest university - is also linked to the downtown through east-west bus services.”

Crombie says the city can happily accommodate HQ2.

"The submission further highlights how Mississauga's City Centre (downtown) office district has 3 million square feet within the larger 36 million square foot Metro West marketplace, and can readily accommodate Amazon's 500,000 square foot requirement and provides an opportunity to develop a campus similar to the Seattle layout. Mississauga's downtown site has immediate proximity to the City Transit Hub that provides direct access to GO Transit rail and bus services, along with light rail and bus rapid transit stops, a regional bus station, and local bus services.”

Crombie also mentioned the incoming LRT (and the four stops planned for City Centre alone), the upgraded Square One Bus Terminal, the Downtown21 plan and the city's skilled workforce.

"Access to a diverse, large and educated workforce is an important part of Amazon's consideration for choosing a city to be home to its HQ2. Over 66 per cent of Mississauga's workforce population has a post-secondary education. We have a young and ambitious population, which exceeds both the national and provincial averages. Mississauga is one hour from 21 different universities and colleges and there are 38,000 international students within 60 minutes of our city. Mississauga's value proposition speaks for itself. We are open for business."

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