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Why Toronto could be back in the game after Amazon drops HQ2 plans for New York

Protesters hold up anti-Amazon signs during a coalition rally and press conference of elected officials, community organizations and unions opposing Amazon headquarters getting subsidies to locate in Long Island City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Amazon says it’s backing out of plans to build headquarters in Long Island City, Queens — possibly leaving the door open for Toronto.

Opposition from state and local politicians effectively forced Amazon out of the Big Apple. A major bone of contention is the $2.8 billion worth of incentives New York was going to give to Amazon.

Toronto — one of the 20 finalists for HQ2 — doesn’t have that going against it. It was upfront from the start that it won’t offer financial incentives. And politicians are keen for Amazon to make Toronto its home away from home.

After Amazon confirmed it was pulling out of New York, Toronto Mayor John Tory told Yahoo Finance Canada:

“I remain so proud of the Toronto Region’s Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities I’m confident it has opened up for our city.”

“I reached out to Amazon as Mayor of Toronto to let them know our city remains a great place to grow and to invest. Toronto is a beacon for investment, our tech industry is booming, including our start-ups, and we are taking steps every day to maintain and enhance our quality of life.”

In a statement, Amazon says “We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” But that doesn’t mean it won’t down the road. The Toronto Region Board of trade says Toronto is ready willing and able to welcome a greater presence in the city.

“I think all the reasons Amazon is already here continue to be a compelling reason to keep Toronto in mind,” Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“The piece that’s defining Toronto’s involvement is the depth of tech talent and research that’s happening in this market and also the natural concentration of consumers in the Toronto area as well as the Great Lakes states around us.

Chicago, Miami, and Newark are among the other eliminated finalists that want another chance at being home to HQ2 — creating an estimated 25,000 jobs.

Even if HQ2 in Toronto isn’t in the cards, Amazon is committed to Canada.

“We will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada,” says Amazon in a statement.

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