Manitoba premier, Winnipeg mayor say city is 'best choice' for new Amazon HQ

If Manitoba's two most prominent politicians have their way, Winnipeg could be the site of the next North American headquarters for Amazon.

Seattle-based e-commerce giant accepting proposals from across North America for site of 2nd headquarters

Amazon wants to make its new home near an urban area of at least one million people. (Reuters)

If Manitoba's two most prominent politicians have their way, Winnipeg could be the site of the next North American headquarters for Amazon.

The e-commerce giant announced Thursday it's seeking sales pitches from jurisdictions across North America to build a second base of operations.

Premier Brian Pallister and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman are launching a "Team Manitoba" targeted push to woo Amazon into planting roots in Winnipeg.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Winnipeg and Manitoba," Pallister said in a statement Saturday.

Amazon has many distribution centres around the world, in addition to its headquarters in Seattle. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

The Seattle-based company has committed to spending $5 billion US on a new, eight-million-square-foot "HQ2" site where as many as 50,000 employees will work within 10 years. The end goal is to have average salaries of around $100,000 for staff at the new plant, Amazon says.

The company, which currently employs a workforce of 380,000, says it added $38 billion US to its home city's economy since setting up in the Pacific Northwest in 2016.

"Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs," Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and founder, said in a statement.

Pallister said Winnipeg is the "best choice" for the new headquarters. Apart from being right in the middle of North America and being a low-cost business centre, Pallister said Winnipeg already has adequate transportation infrastructure, greenspaces and an educated workforce.

Amazon claims to be most interested in "urban or suburban" areas with qualities that would help attract and retain tech-savvy workers.

The company also says eligible areas must be near a metropolitan hub with a population of at least one million. Statistics Canada reported in March that Winnipeg and surrounding municipalities are home to about 811,000 people.

Bowman added Winnipeg is a perfect home for Amazon due to the local expertise in the tech and manufacturing sectors.

"By partnering with the province and key stakeholders in the economic community, we will present a unified proposal for this significant opportunity," Bowman said in a statement.

Amazon is accepting pitches until Oct. 19. Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have already expressed interest.

With files from Pete Evans and Bartley Kives