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Province to woo Amazon

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TORONTO—Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says a former banking executive will help guide the province's bid to become the home of Amazon's new corporate headquarters.

The online retail giant announced last week that it planned to establish a second North American office, and many cities already have expressed their interest in the project.

Wynne joined their ranks on Saturday, announcing she had named former TD Bank chief executive Ed Clark as the head of a group tasked with landing the project.

Clark, who retired from TD in 2014, now serves as the Wynne's business adviser.

Wynne said he will head a group of business leaders who will work to secure Amazon's interest in locating its headquarters in Ontario.

Toronto Mayor John Tory already has expressed keen interest in bidding to make Toronto Amazon's next home.

Amazon says that it will spend more than $5 billion (U.S.) to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees.

The technology company plans to stay in its current Seattle headquarters and the new space will be “a full equal” of its current home, said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Cities have until Oct. 19 to apply through a special website, and Amazon said it will make a final decision next year.

While many cities likely will be clamouring to make their pitch to Amazon as well, candidates must meet specific requirements to be considered.

Key criteria include: a prime location, access to mass transit, and proximity to an international airport.

Any potential site must have room to grow, as Amazon wants to expand its new headquarters to as much as eight million square feet in the next decade.

That's about the same size as its current home in Seattle.

Other Canadian cities, such as Waterloo, Ont. or Vancouver, also may fit the bill.

Amazon said its search is open to any metropolitan area in North America that meets the parameters.

Amazon's current campus in Seattle takes up 8.1 million square feet, has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants, and is home to more than 40,000 employees.

At the second headquarters, Amazon said it will hire up to 50,000 new full-time employees over the next 15 years, who would have an average pay of more than $100,000 (U.S.) a year.

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