Could Amazon bring HQ2 to Toronto after all?

The long saga of Amazon’s plans to open a second North American headquarters took an unexpected turn Thursday.

Having gone through a lengthy decision-making process which narrowed cities down to a shortlist that included Toronto, Amazon’s plan to open not one but two headquarters – in Virginia and New York – the firm announced that it was cancelling the New York deal.

It appears that Amazon bowed to pressure from some residents and politicians, who were opposed to the deal despite the promise of tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.

Questions over government subsidies of U$3 billion, along with concerns that rents and home prices would escalate, meant opposition was seen from the start.

However, while being located in an opportunity zone meant Amazon would qualify for the subsidies, an executive said that it was not planning to claim it.

“This is a stunning development, with Amazon essentially giving in to vocal critics,” Mark Hamrick, an analyst at Bankrate.com told Bloomberg. "For those who didn’t want Amazon to bring the promised 25,000 new jobs and added economic vitality to the area: Be careful what you wish for."

While nothing has been confirmed, some are speculating that Amazon will seek another location to replace New York, with those on the shortlist – including Toronto – potentially back in the running.

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