Calgary has been one of the boldest suitors for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, but even if it doesn’t land HQ2, the Canadian city won’t walk away empty-handed.
Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to open a 600,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Rocky View County, just north of Calgary. The facility, Amazon’s seventh in Canada and first in the Alberta province, will employ 750 people, the company said.
“We are excited to continue our growth in Canada and especially in the greater Calgary community where we’ve already received great community support,” said Glenn Sommerville, director of Amazon operations in Canada.
Amazon said it employs more than 4,400 people across Canada, including 2,000 in its distribution warehouses. Cities from five Canadian provinces are bidding for HQ2, and Toronto has been a favorite among some members of the GeekWire staff.
Calgary made an aggressive push to land Amazon’s second headquarters and its 50,000 high-paying jobs in the final days, with a video pitch, newspaper ads and marketing via sidewalk chalk. But a giant sign that runs the length of a boarded up building on the corner of Westlake Avenue North and Republican Street in the South Lake Union neighborhood that Amazon calls home serves as the best reminder of Calgary’s determined efforts.
“Hey, Amazon. Not saying we’d fight a bear for you … but we totally would,” reads the red sign featuring a bearded man staring down at passersby.