Windsor seeks to join Detroit in Amazon bid

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Windsor plans to join next-door neighbor Detroit in a bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Billionaire investor Dan Gilbert, tapped by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to lead a task force to explore the option, confirmed in a statement Monday they look forward to working with Windsor.

“Detroit is the only city competing for Amazon’s headquarters that not only sits on an international border, but the busiest international border of one of our country’s largest trading partners,” he said. “In addition, the city of Windsor, province of Ontario and all of Canada has a large, skilled technology workforce.

“Amazon will be able to draw employees from two countries rich in technology talent with diverse backgrounds while cementing it as the first major company in the world whose headquarters would literally share an international border. That’s why we are very excited to work with Windsor to bring Amazon to our shared border.”

According to the Windsor Star, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said he will meet with Gilbert this week.

Dilkens told the newspaper that he emailed Gilbert after hearing about Detroit’s plans last week to submit a bid. He said Gilbert’s response was: “He told me, ‘It’s funny you contacted me, I was just thinking about contacting you.’”

Dilkens notes the access to tech talent on both sides of the border and called it a “game-changer.”

“It would be hard to ignore our bid … it could be something no one else can offer,” he told the Windsor Star.

Dilkens said Windsor could offer a waterfront site to complement a potential Amazon campus on the American side.

The Seattle-based ecommerce giant announced earlier this month that it was soliciting bids from North American cities for a second headquarters. Company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the site could bring a $5 billion investment and create as many as 50,000 jobs.

The announcement sent cities scrambling to develop proposals for the Amazon headquarters. The deadline for proposals is Oct. 19.

Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations, previously said in that statement that Michigan "has been a source of exceptional talent for Amazon."

Last week, UM President Mark Schlissel said he regards the university as a potential draw for Amazon to bring its second headquarters to Detroit.

Amazon employs 2,500 in two fulfillment centers in Michigan and a Detroit office. It recently announced it will be creating another 1,000 new, full-time jobs when it opens a new fulfillment center in Shelby Township next year.

Mayor Mike Duggan compared Detroit’s efforts to land Amazon to delivering Detroit Super Bowl XL more than a decade ago.

“We’re up against really tough competition from really good cities,” Duggan said Thursday.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN