Amazon's headquarters in Seattle include three "biospheres" filled with plants and endangered species. Photo by brewbooks, used under a Creative Commons license.

COMMENT: Welcome to Stittsville, Amazon

(PHOTO: Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle include three “biospheres” filled with plants and endangered species. Photo by brewbooks, used under a Creative Commons license.)

You may have heard this week: Amazon is looking for a major North American city where they can establish a second world headquarters.

Their original campus is in Seattle, where 40,000 people walk to work every day. They’ve launched an RFP process, inviting cities across North America to make a pitch to become a new home for Amazon.

The City of Ottawa (via Invest Ottawa) is planning to put in a bid. This is good.  The potential economic impact to our city is absolutely massive.  We’re talking $5-billion in initial construction alone, plus 50,000 highly paid workers. The mayor, local councillors, and business groups should be dropping everything to focus on winning this bid.

Ottawa should be pitching Canadian Tire Centre and the surrounding land as the perfect location.

We still have no idea what the Senators are planning for Canadian Tire Centre once they move to Lebreton Flats.  I’m not optimistic that whatever Eugene Melnyk & co. has up their sleeve will come even remotely close to replacing the positive cultural and economic impact the Sens and Canadian Tire Centre have on the Kanata-Stittsville area.

Ottawa can easily check off Amazon’s big requirements with the Canadian Tire Centre site. Lots of building space? CHECK. Close eto a large metro area? CHECK. International airport? CHECK. Close to a highway and mass transit? CHECK. Universities and a skilled workforce?  CHECK. Recreation opportunities and great quality of life? CHECK.

(Bonus: Amazon already has an office in Ottawa.  There’s a small software development team in Kanata North.)

A international tech headquarters in Kanata-Stittsville might actually help fulfill the original vision for the Kanata-West Concept Plan, which (besides the arena) was to include an entertainment district, business campuses, shopping and housing. Instead, we have car dealerships, parking lots and and outlet stores.

Think of the economic impact Amazon would have on the rest of the west end. The relocation of DND headquarters to Moodie Drive is already boosting our housing market, and that’s only 8,500 workers.

Amazon HQ2 could be exactly what this area needs. It sure beats a casino or a Walmart… or an abandoned skating rink!

The Kanata West Concept Plan covers a large section of west Kanata and Stittsville, with Canadian Tire Centre in the middle.
The Kanata West Concept Plan dates back to when the arena was first being develped in the mid-1990s. It covers a large section of west Kanata and Stittsville and envisions shops, entertainment, office buildings and homes. Nearly 30 years on, that vision still isn’t anywhere close to being realized.

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One thought on “COMMENT: Welcome to Stittsville, Amazon”

  1. Glen, this is actually a first-rate idea! The dome would look terrific on top of the current arena, assuming it’s strong enough to support it, and the physio and gym should fit well into Amazon’s “fitness is good” culture, should they
    choose to keep it. Do send the recommendation to the mayor and his committee.

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