Amazon.com set for major expansion in Vancouver

Online retailing giant Amazon appears to have plans for a massive office expansion in Vancouver, according to some industry insiders.

Online retailer has leased space for up to 1,000 staff in new high-tech building

Amazon has leased 91,000 square feet, with the option to lease 95,000 more in the new Telus Garden building in downtown Vancouver. CBC

Online retailing giant Amazon appears to have plans for a massive office expansion in Vancouver, according to some industry insiders.

The Seattle-based tech giant already has an office here and has posted 90 new jobs in Vancouver, including managers, software engineers and research scientists.

Then on Tuesday Colliers, the real estate company in charge of finding tenants for the new Telus Garden building in downtown Vancouver, confirmed Amazon has leased 91,000 square feet there, with the possibility more, for a total of 156,000.

Depending on how the cubicles are jammed in, that could accommodate up to 1,000 employees, they estimate.

Amazon hasn't commented on its plans, but the company's job site says it "anticipates growing quickly" in Vancouver.

As vague as that may sound, the news it did elicit a flurry of enthusiastic tweets on social media, including one from Mayor Gregor Robertson who wrote, "Stay tuned."

Talent in demand

Bill Tam, the president of the B.C. Technology Industry Association, says Amazon has already been hiring up local developers.           

"We've already seen them grow from maybe a couple dozen people to several hundred. They've chosen to kind of tap into the talent pools that exist here in Vancouver, and are probably looking to make this a mainstay for their operation."

But he says it can create a problem for the city's home-grown firms.

"We've got our own local companies like HootSuite, Vision Critical, many companies that are really growing very quickly, and I think what we're seeing is pressure points, around the availability of talent and the availability for these companies to scale in the manner that they'd like."

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