Kitchener-Waterloo

Lost Amazon bid 'not a surprise,' Waterloo region EDC says

The CEO of Waterloo region's Economic Development Corporation says the bid was a "long shot," but it puts KW on the map for other companies.

CEO Tony LaMantia says 'it makes sense' for the company to choose New York and Virginia for new headquarters

The Southern Ontario bid for Amazon's second headquarters, HQ2, didn't win the day. (Photo by Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images)

The CEO of Waterloo Region's Economic Development Corporation says losing the bid to become Amazon's next headquarters is "not a surprise" considering the bid "was a long shot to begin with." 

Toronto and surrounding cities including Waterloo region, recently made the short list of 19 locations hoping to become Amazon's next headquarters.

On Tuesday, the company announced it will be putting its second headquarters in New York and Arlington, Virginia

"It makes a lot of sense for Amazon to have chosen the financial capital of the world, as well as the political centre, the centre of U.S. decision making," said Tony LaMantia, president of the region's EDC. 

In the bid, Toronto promoted its affordable talent, quality of life, corporate tax rates and the country's universal health care, but the city didn't pitch Amazon with financial incentives. 

$2B offered by winning bid

On the contrary, New York was willing to offer around $1.525 billion U.S. in tax breaks and wage subsidies, and Virginia was offering $573 million worth of incentives. 

"Much of our education and talent is already subsidized. You know, putting hundreds of billions on the table for the incentive, probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway," said LaMantia, who also helped craft the proposal on behalf of Waterloo region. 

LaMantia says he's "proud" the region made the short list in the first place. 

"[It's] shone a bright spotlight on the quality of talent in the Toronto-Waterloo region corridor," he said. 

"It strengthens the overall reputation and I think we should be proud of the effort and the fact that we didn't have to put billions on the table to make the short list." 

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