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Oct 26, 2017

'Amazon knows exactly where we are': Online retailer to open Calgary distribution

Amazon to build distribution centre outside Calgary

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BALZAC, Alta. -- The e-commerce retail giant Amazon say it is expanding to Alberta by building a distribution centre that will create 750 full-time jobs.

Glenn Sommerville, Amazon's director of Canada operations, says the 56,000-square-metre centre near the Calgary airport will allow items to be packed and shipped at a faster speed.

"We want to be a good neighbour, a good employer, and a good economic driver for the region," he said.

Sommerville made the announcement Thursday with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley near the proposed warehouse site in the community of Balzac.

Notley said the expansion is welcome news for the region, where  thousands of jobs have been lost in recent years due to a drop in oil prices.

"This represents an amazing opportunity," said Notley, who added it is an example of how Alberta's overall low tax regime and skilled workforce is reaping benefits.

"We are diversifying to capitalize on all of Alberta's strengths and potential."

The Calgary-area facility is Amazon's seventh distribution centre in Canada.

 



The company already employs more than 2,000 people at centres in Ontario and British Columbia.

Including its corporate offices, development centres and other facilities, Amazon employs 4,400 people in Canada.

The new distribution centre is separate from bidding to attract a second headquarters for Amazon going on among 54 cities and regions across North America.

Calgary and Edmonton are making bids, as are Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax.

Amazon has said it plans to spend $5 billion and hire as many as 50,000 employees for its second North American office.

The company wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people, have access to top technical talent, be near an international airport, have direct access to mass transit and have space to expand over the next decade.

It is to make a decision next year.

Amazon's current Seattle home has more than 40,000 employees and 33 buildings.

The Alberta government is assisting Calgary and Edmonton with their bids.

Notley has not indicated whether Alberta's bid will include financial incentives or loan guarantees. She has only said that the package has to make overall sense for the province and its economy.

The premier and Amazon officials reiterated Thursday that the headquarters and the Balzac warehouse are separate projects.

Notley said having a distribution centre doesn't hurt the bid for the bigger prize.

"We know that Amazon knows exactly where we are and they know exactly what the benefits of this province are."