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County launches Amazon HQ2​ bid

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In Council Watch
Oct 19th, 2017
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Simcoe County news release

The County of Simcoe is open for business and received support from the Government of Ontario towards the County’s efforts to secure the development of Amazon’s newest North American facility within Simcoe County borders.

Amazon, which currently has Canadian locations in Toronto and Vancouver and employs more than 380,000 people around the globe, recently sent out a request for proposals to identify a location and partner municipality for its newest North American facility. The proposal states that Amazon HQ2, the moniker that Amazon has given, would generate up to 50,000 local jobs for the successful location.

As part of the County’s economic development strategy to attract, grow and support our economy and labour force, the County has identified potential locations and worked with the towns of Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil, as well as development partners, to submit a strong proposal to Amazon to make Simcoe County the home of Amazon HQ2 and ultimately generate high-paying, quality jobs in our communities.

Leading with the tag line “North of Ordinary”, the proposal highlights our region’s many value propositions and strengths, including our lifestyle opportunities, high quality of life, growing communities, affordability, attraction of newcomers, proximity to GTA, access to major highways, transit and international airports, strong talent pool, focus on research and development, access to health care, and an opportunity for Amazon itself to help shape the surrounding community by working with the County and host municipality as potential development occurs.

The County anticipates that it will hear back from Amazon in 2018.

To bolster provincial competitiveness and increase our labour force, the Government of Ontario announced Wednesday that it plans to increase the number of post-secondary students graduating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including artificial intelligence, by 25 per cent over the next five years. This initiative will boost the number of STEM graduates from 40,000 to 50,000 per year and position Ontario as the number one producer of postsecondary STEM graduates per capita in North America. Locally, Georgian College and Lakehead University are recognized as leaders in many of these disciplines – with Georgian College in the process of developing a new state-of-the-art Advanced Technology, Innovation and Research Centre.

Simcoe County has impressive qualifications, including:

a 40 per cent population growth rate forecasted
home to 16,000 businesses
a growing available workforce of approximately 230,000 people
creation of 14,000 new jobs in last 5 years
a wide variety of development options ranging from major industrial greenfield opportunities to waterfront and downtown mixed use and commercial development
a competitive advantage with close proximity to GTA – 9 million people within an one-hour drive and that number grows to 130-million within a one day drive
access to international markets through the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte, Billy Bishop and Pearson International Airports
being known for its high quality of life, welcoming more than 9-million visitors each year to experience area amenities and attractions

Quotes:

“The County of Simcoe is open for business and offers an experience truly north of ordinary. Our communities provide affordable lifestyles with an abundance of infrastructure, transportation, amenities, services and an educated, hardworking and growing workforce. We have one united goal to foster an environment that provides the absolute best opportunity for Amazon and all our businesses to thrive.” Gerry Marshall, County of Simcoe Warden

“The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the County of Simcoe are growing in population and opportunity. With access to major highways, airports, commercial space and lifestyle services, our community is an increasingly attractive location for businesses and organizations to build and grow.” Rob Keffer, Mayor of the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and County of Simcoe Councillor

“Our region and Town prides itself on the affordable lifestyle we offer our residents and the economic advantages we offer our business partners. We are proud to work in close partnership with the County on many economic development initiatives that benefit our community and our businesses and we’re hopeful that our region will be considered as a destination for the Amazon HQ2 facility.” Gord Wauchope, Mayor of the Town of Innisfil and County of Simcoe Councillor

 

County makes pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters

By Ian McInroy Barrie Examiner October 19 2017

ORO-MEDONTE TWP. – One of the world’s biggest companies could be setting up shop in Simcoe County.

Amazon, which currently has Canadian locations in Toronto and Vancouver and employs more than 380,000 people around the globe, recently sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to identify a location and partner municipality for its newest North American facility.

Simcoe County is one of many municipalities across Canada and the United States looking to win the bid, with RFPs having to be filed by Thursday.

The proposal states that Amazon HQ2, the moniker that Amazon has given its new second headquarters, would generate up to 50,000 local jobs – with an annual salary of $100,000 U.S. or more – for the successful location.

Simcoe County Warden Gerry Marshall spoke about his team’s submission to Amazon, entitled North of Ordinary, on Thursday at the G&C Jet Centre hangar at Lake Simcoe Regional Airport.

“This is a pitch that competes with locations all across North America who are vying for Amazon’s attention,” he said. “Everything Amazon is looking for, we have: the lands, the planned development, a growing workforce and a population that is expected to double from 465,000 to almost 800,000 by 2041.”

Because of Amazon’s requirements in the RFP, only sites in the south part of the county were considered.

They are close to Highway 400 (and the proposed 400-407 connecting link), are within 33-45 minutes to Pearson International and Billy Bishop airports (which are also accessed by Lake Simcoe Regional Airport), can offer 120 acres of Greenfield options (with opportunity for adjacent land), access to mass transit and, perhaps most importantly, access to thriving workforce.

The three preferred sites in the county’s RFPs meet all those demands, according to Rachel Sullivan, manager of economic development for the county.

One site is at 2423 Sideroad 5 in Bradford West Gwillimbury, just southwest of the Highway 400 and Highway 88 interchange and owned by the DG Group. The second identified site is on property owned by the Corel Group at Innisfil Line 6 near 20th Sideroad.

Owners of the third site wish to remain anonymous.

“The County of Simcoe is open for business and offers an experience truly north of ordinary,” Marshall said. “Our communities provide affordable lifestyles with an abundance of infrastructure, transportation, amenities, services and an educated, hardworking and growing workforce.

“We have one united goal to foster an environment that provides the absolute best opportunity for Amazon and all our businesses to thrive.”

Sullivan said other Simcoe County advantages include more “attainable” housing, good provincially run health care, good education opportunities for families and the employer, such as Georgian College and Lakehead University, and a 1.7 million labour force within a one-hour drive.

“When we stitch that together, we have a tremendous story to tell. I think we have a very good chance,” she said. “The submission builds on existing and planned infrastructure that is well underway. It was great to (make the RFP) because it caused us to really take stock of the great assets we have here in Simcoe County.”

In making the Amazon pitch, the county worked with the federal government’s Global Affairs Canada department and the Ontario Investment Office of the provincial Ministry of Economic Development and growth.

According to Amazon, capital investment could be more than $15-billion over the initial 15-17 years of the project. Phase 1 is expected to require 500,000 square feet and could exceed eight million square feet at build-out (Phase 4 and beyond).

The county anticipates that it will hear back from Amazon in 2018.

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