Ottawa-Gatineau’s Amazon HQ2 bid pitches waterfront LeBreton Flats location

Amazon

The forthcoming LeBreton Flats development may have an enormous anchor tenant in the form of Amazon HQ2, according to one vision of the National Capital Region’s bid that has surfaced online.

The website, which does not constitute the entire bid submitted by the region this past week, appears to be a singular pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters along the Ottawa River waterfront, integrated into LeBreton Flats.

According to the website, a mix of public and private lands adding up to 120 acres in Ottawa’s downtown is “pre-planned and close to shovel-ready” for Amazon to develop its eight-million-square-foot (roughly 180 acres) campus.

The pitch offers Amazon the chance to make its mark and shape a city: The Seattle-based e-commerce giant could have the opportunity to participate in “one of the largest and most transformational waterfront development projects undertaken on North America’s urban landscape in generations,” the website offers.

The pitch is less aspirational and more certain, phrasing the bid process and developments in the past tense – a done deal. It imagines the headquarters as steps away from an NHL arena and a new public library, two major concurrent developments in Ottawa’s downtown that have yet to begin.

The bid also draws on the forthcoming light-rail network, positioning HQ2 in close proximity to Bayview Station where the new and existing LRT lines will intersect.

Images used on the website are a mix of renderings and existing photos. The Zibi development on Chaudière Island, the LeBreton Flats shops and spaces and the LRT lines are presented as “coming soon” attractions for “Amazonians,” should the firm choose Ottawa-Gatineau’s bid.

Amazon
An image from Ottawa-Gatineau's Amazon HQ2 bid.

Invest Ottawa officials were quoted Monday morning as saying they highlighted several sites across the National Capital Region in their bid, but chose to highlight LeBreton Flats to put their “best foot forward.”

Tech talent

The “lifestyle piece” is there as well, as Invest Ottawa teased to OBJ last month. “Happily,” the bid says, the costs of housing and living is preferable to other major Canadian cities – a clear attempt to contrast Ottawa’s liveability with the real estate markets of Toronto and Vancouver. The National Arts Centre, the Gatineau Hills and nearby neighbourhoods such as Hintonburg and Westboro are each prominently featured as draws for the after-work hours.

Of course, the region’s technology sector is a part of the bid. The site imagines a reality in which Amazon joins Ottawa-based Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, and highlights the region’s high connectivity speeds of more than one terabyte-per-second.

Talent from the region’s colleges and universities is also on display, as well as other talent streams including attracting foreign students and government programs that allow for the timely processing of international workers.

Other features included in the pitch are access to the federal government and nearby embassies, as well as the sustainability of the forthcoming developments.

With the bids process now closed, Amazon is expected to make a final decision on the winning city for its second headquarters in 2018.