Vancouver regional and provincial partners submit Amazon HQ2 Proposal

Logo for Vancouver regional and provincial partners submit Amazon HQ2 Proposal

Submission concludes Vancouver region’s response to ‘biggest economic development event in a generation’

Vancouver, BC (October 21, 2017) – The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) and its regional and provincial partners are delighted to announce that the metro Vancouver region’s Amazon HQ2 proposal was successfully hand-delivered to Amazon on Thursday, October 19. This concludes a six-week project that saw collaboration between a wide group of partners and stakeholders – a level unprecedented since the 2010 Winter Olympics – to assemble a comprehensive regional bid. Amazon will take the rest of 2017 to review proposals by hundreds of cities around North America, and will announce its decision some time in 2018.

Out of respect for the RFP process, VEC and partners have opted to allow Amazon the courtesy of having first glance at the Vancouver region’s proposal; as Amazon is to review well over one hundred submissions, there are no immediate plans to release the full contents of the proposal document until after a decision has been announced by Amazon. In the meantime, VEC is pleased to provide key points on the process of assembling the proposal, and a summary of the contents and themes.

 

Governance and Process

The project was governed by a Steering Committee representing a broad stakeholder group, executed by an integrated VEC-led Project Execution Team, and supported by subject matter advisors – the Advisory Committee, which first convened on September 14 in a town hall style held with major stakeholders.

The Vancouver Economic Commission, BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the City of Vancouver, the City of Surrey and Metro Vancouver Regional District are all represented on the Steering Committee. The Cities of Richmond, Burnaby and New Westminster were all consulted and contributed suggestions for sites, as were the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.
 

Our Incentives are “Built-In” Incentives

No cash, land or additional tax incentives were offered in metro Vancouver region’s submission to Amazon. Rather than engaging in a “race to the bottom” with cash incentives, the Project Execution Team presented a cohesive, comprehensive and compelling narrative that focuses on the built-in incentives of operating in and around the Vancouver region. This value proposition includes a highly competitive business environment featuring significant cost savings related to office real estate, health care, tax rates and labour.

When compared to several sites in the United States, VEC estimates that these combined factors would allow Amazon to save tens of billions over a ten-year horizon. This does not include the millions of hours in reduced travel times and a minimized carbon footprint.
 

Delivery of Space and Connectivity

In addition to Vancouver offering these distinct advantages, the region’s geographical proximity means unmatched accessibility. Vancouver is one of the most multicultural urban centres in the world; we are a dynamic, inclusive innovation hub, with a cultural alignment with the values of Amazon’s native Seattle.

The proposal further identified millions of square feet of space throughout the region to support Amazon’s identified 500,000 ft2 move-in needs on day one, and more than enough to meet the second and third phases of the project. With a compact, transit- and cycling-connected region, a world-class Port and the award-winning YVR – named North America’s best airport for eight years running – we know we have both the space and the connectivity that Amazon seeks.
 

Focus on Talent and Labour Force

Metro Vancouver’s tech ecosystem is on an explosive growth trajectory. Our path to providing the skilled talent necessary to support this growth is clear. Our post-secondary institutions are world class in their capacity to deliver graduates required by our technology sector. These educational institutions awarded 30,000 STEM credentials and 13,000 Business degrees between 2014–2016. Vancouver’s robust talent pool is further bolstered by the highest rate of Provincial in-migration of any province in Canada. We further benefit from a progressive federal immigration framework, which includes the Global Skills Strategy, to assist top talent in making their move here.

With an innovative, entrepreneurial, highly educated workforce, Vancouver offers a robust talent pool of work-ready graduates that will easily accommodate the 50,000 new workers that Amazon would look to hire over the course of the first 15 years of their HQ2 project.
 

Regional Collaboration

Amazon’s HQ2 bid has been referred to as being possibly ‘the biggest economic development event in a generation.’ The successful city stands to gain up to $5 billion USD in direct capital investment and the creation of 50,000 jobs over the course of the 15–17 years it would take to see the project through to the completion of Phase III. This does not count the unknown amount of indirect spend during these years, and the subsequent economic activity resulting from what Amazon terms “organic growth” and community reinvestment.

While these direct economic benefits certainly interest us, what this proposal immediately represents for the VEC and its partner organizations is the opportunity to galvanize stakeholders throughout the Lower Mainland with a common purpose – to identify, assess, and present the attributes we possess that are attractive to any global enterprise.

This short, six-week process of responding to the exciting and unprecedented Amazon RFP has created a template for all of us in the region to build upon for future investment attraction opportunities.

 

Media Contact

Ingrid Valou, Communications Specialist

604.868.1990 | ivalou@vancouvereconomic.com

 

About the Amazon HQ2 RFP

On September 7, the technology giant issued a continent-wide request for proposals (RFP) from cities and their economic development entities to decide where to locate Amazon’s second North American headquarters. Referred to as “Amazon HQ2,” this RFP sought proponents to respond with details of how their region provides outstanding assets and attributes under the following criteria and key decision drivers.

  1.       Site/Building
  2.       Capital/Operation Costs
  3.       Incentives
  4.       Labour Force
  5.       Logistics
  6.       Time to Operations
  7.       Cultural Community Fit
  8.       Community/Quality of Life

The metro Vancouver region fares very favourably in six of them; two of the eight key decision drivers refer specifically to the availability of cash incentives, which we did not offer.

The RFP document and its Key Decision Drivers is public and may be viewed here.
 

About the Stakeholders

Stakeholders consulted during the Vancouver region’s Amazon HQ2 proposal process include the following organizations and institutions:

  • The Province of British Columbia
  • BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
  • Metro Vancouver Regional District
  • City of Vancouver
  • City of Surrey
  • City of Richmond
  • City of New Westminster
  • District of North Vancouver
  • City of Port Moody
  • Musqueam First Nation
  • Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
  • Squamish First Nation
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Victoria
  • Research Universities Council of BC
  • TransLink
  • BC Hydro
  • BC Tech Association
  • Air Canada
  • YVR – Vancouver International Airport
  • Harbour Air
  • Telus
  • Shaw Communications

For information on the context of the Amazon HQ2 Project, please refer to Amazon’s announcement and to the RFP document itself.

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