schuh ugg How does Edmonton stack up
Retail giant Amazon announcement last month that it looking for somewhere to build a massive second headquarters touched off gold rush fever that would make the Klondike proud.
Edmonton was one of 238 jurisdictions across North America that made pitches to host the company operations by last week deadline, with some centres offering such goodies as a possible US$7 billion in tax incentives over a decade dangled by New Jersey.
Alberta capital and Calgary are both vying to attract what they see as a goose that will lay golden eggs, such as up to 50,000 jobs and $5 billion worth of capital investment over 15 to 17 years.
Calgary has wooed the Seattle based tech firm with a high profile marketing campaign featuring a full page ad in the Seattle Times, a 35 metre banner on a building near Amazon’s current headquarters and chalk messages stencilled on downtown sidewalks.
In contrast, Edmonton is radio silent and won release details of its pitch, saying that the material presented contains confidential private sector information and that it doesn want to tip its hand when there a second round in the process before a final decision is reached next year.
However, an Edmonton Economic Development Corp. official says at least 10 to 15 of their staff, with input from business, government, non profit and post secondary leaders, worked on a proposal that comes down to the type of talent Amazon wants to attract.
do have a growing and emerging tech sector, particularly linked to artificial intelligence We offer them stable economic growth, chief of staff Adam Sweet said Monday, adding research being done at the University of Alberta and other local post secondary institutions is another big plus.
only are we open and inventive, but we also co operative We a very close knit community. We a place where people can come and they welcomed, not just as neighbours, but as partners. the end, Amazon isn guaranteeing it will choose any proposal and nothing might come of the frenzy.
Still, with no plans to publicly release the city entire bid package, how does Edmonton stack up against the requirements outlined in the company request for proposals to host the headquarters complex?
Here a look at some of the specifications outlined in the Amazon document.
People line up to have their resumes checked at an Alberta Employment Career Fair in this 2015 photo.
“The project is expected to create as many as 50,000 new full time jobs (over 10 15 years following start of operations) likely (in) the following categories: executive/management, engineering with a preference for software development engineers (SDE), legal, accounting, and administrative.”
That up to 3,300 to 5,000 extra workers annually for at least a decade. During the 2012 14 boom, the region created tens of thousands of jobs a year, although most weren in the specialized fields sought by Amazon.
Edmonton has dealt with major population spikes created by past employment growth; the number of residents soared by 60,000 people in 2012 14.
Local post secondary graduates could also fill positions. Edmonton has six publicly funded post secondary institutions with a total of roughly 105,000 full and part time students, which might fulfil Amazon desire for highly educated labor pool and strong university system.
The regional labour force is 836,000 people, with about 71,000 of those potential workers, or 8.5 per cent, unemployed.
The compensation could be good for workers at Amazon’s new headquarters.
“The project is expected to (have) average annual compensation exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per employee.”
That less than last year average $2,821 weekly pay ($147,000 annually) for oil and gas extraction, but more than the weekly $1,680 ($87,360 annually) paid for data processing services, hosting and related services.
Edmonton median household income was $94,447 around the height of the last boom in 2015, according to the most recent figures from Statistics Canada.
Edmonton’s 17.2 per cent downtown office vacancy rate could provide space for Amazon.
“Building requirements: Initial square foot requirement 500,000+ sq. ft. Phase I (2019) Total square foot requirement up to 8,000,000 sq. ft. beyond 2027.”
This would certainly cut into the 2.6 million square feet of empty downtown office space real estate firm Avison Young found existed last summer, when the vacancy rate stood at 17.2 per cent. That included 1.3 million square feet lying fallow in 25 A class buildings.
However, all the space in all the downtown commercial and government buildings only totals 18.3 million square feet, so it seems unlikely existing structures could handle everything desired by Amazon, which now occupies 8.1 million square feet over 33 buildings for its Seattle headquarters.
Crews work on the Blatchford redevelopment project, one possible site where Amazon could build a new campus.
If existing buildings don work, “A greenfield site of approximately 100 acres certified or pad ready, with utility infrastructure in place. The sites should be in proximity to each other to foster a sense of place and be pedestrian friendly.”
Hello Blatchford, hello Northlands both these city owned properties cover far more than 100 acres.
Servicing is underway to turn Blatchford (536 acres) into an environmentally friendly community of 30,000 residents and the future of Northlands (160 acres) is undetermined, but it seems likely the city could shoehorn something as important as Amazon into one of those locations if asked.
There are also blocks of empty land north of Rogers Place. While the Katz Group and its partners have been planning a series of residential towers in the area, perhaps that development could be part of YEGAmazon. A Katz Group spokesman declined to comment, calling the issue hypothetical.