Hamilton will send its bid to be the new home of Amazon via courier Wednesday. But even if the online retail giant doesn't choose here, says the city manager, this hasn't been a waste of money.
The city is spending as much as half a million dollars — $250,000 from its own coffers — on the Amazon bid. The retailer will spend $5 billion on Amazon HQ2, which will bring 50,000 jobs over 10 years.
Chris Murray says city staff and two hired consulting companies have worked long hours to ready the bid, which had to be submitted to the company in advance of Thursday's deadline.
If Amazon doesn't want Hamilton, the assembled information can be used to submit for future bids.
"This work we're doing is going to produce dividends well beyond anything related to Amazon," he said.
Competition is steep, with more than 100 North American cities announcing their intentions to bid. Hamilton started its work on Sept. 8, and hired PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ellis Don as part of the $500,000 cost. The mayor has appeared in a video encouraging Amazon to visit, and the city has talked up the bid on social media using the hashtag #Hamazon.
John Hertel, the city's director of strategic partnerships and revenue generation, said the city has raised about half of its $250,000 goal from private donors.
"We fully expect over the next two weeks to successfully wrap up the remainder of our fundraising efforts," he said.
Murray said the bid won't go over budget, meaning it won't cost more tax dollars than planned. He'll update city council soon on the cost.
On Wednesday morning, the province said it would ramp up training for students in technology and science disciplines, even if it didn't land Amazon. Murray said that effort will help Hamilton too.
Amazon expects to announce a winning city early next year.