Montreal’s failed attempt to seduce Amazon


The metropolis proposed an impressive campus in the area of ​​Old Montreal and the Lachine Canal

In its unsuccessful attempt to attract Amazon to its territory, Montreal has proposed to the American giant of online commerce to build its second headquarters on a huge futuristic campus near the Old Port and Griffintown.

This palace with transparent surfaces and clean lines, it is somehow the economic jackpot that has escaped the metropolis. He would have completely transformed a sector that has been seeking a vocation for decades.

Our Investigation Office has managed to obtain some sketches of the Montreal project, which have been kept confidential by the political and institutional authorities.

It was in September 2017 that Amazon announced its intention to find a site in North America to invest $ 5 billion to accommodate up to 50,000 workers.

Montreal embarked on the train and commissioned its economic development agency, Montréal International, to pilot the file. The competition has been fierce. No less than 238 cities submitted an application.

In two times

The metropolis did not go with the back of the spoon in his presentation in English filed for the big boss of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.

She argued that her proposal would have been “the most exciting North American downtown office development project in a generation,” it was possible to learn.

The candidacy was accompanied by letters from Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Philippe Couillard, former Mayor Denis Coderre and 13 leaders of educational institutions.

According to our information, Montreal first proposed to Amazon to temporarily move into more than one million square feet of office space in a choice of 14 downtown buildings, including Place Ville-Marie and 1000 de la Gauchetière.

Meanwhile, the new campus would have been built at the water’s edge, in the 2020-2027 horizon. This site was chosen among the 15 places studied in the metropolitan area.

The proposal included three huge contiguous sites (see opposite) totaling 16 million square feet, more than four times the size of the quadrangle that hosts the Olympic Stadium. They have in common to be close to a station of the Metropolitan Express Network, the light rail built by the Caisse de dépôt, which should be in service by 2021.

Expected project

Montreal bit the dust by not being among the 20 finalists announced last January. Toronto, along with 19 US cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are still in the running. Amazon plans to announce the big winner by the end of 2018.

In the proposal submitted by Montreal International, the famous Silo No. 5 is integrated into the new headquarters of Amazon.

Since 2010, the Canada Lands Company has been trying to find a buoyant project for Pointe du Moulin and Silo No. 5. The original deadline for the 375th anniversary of the city (last year) has been exceeded. The final master plan she was due to present last fall is still waiting.

Over the years, more or less serious projects have been suggested, such as turning the place into a hotel, a giant piece of art, or building condos.


The Pointe-du-Moulin campus

There are more than 2 million square feet of land to be built on land that is primarily owned by Ottawa.

This is where the famous Silo No. 5 , a former disused grain warehouse, is built . It was planned to keep the envelope of this heritage building.

It was promised to the American multinational that by installing its penates, it could help to “reshape the Old Port”.

St. Patrick’s Campus

This huge site south of the Lachine Canal is currently a dubious amalgam of parking lots and industrial warehouses for rent, which would need revitalization.

More than 6 million square feet would have waited for Amazon.

The Bridge-Wellington Campus

Along the Mill and Bridge Streets leading to the Victoria Bridge, there is a waste of scattered buildings, including one with the famous Farine Five Roses sign. Many are abandoned. There are 7 million square feet available.


220,000: There is a concentration of jobs in the high-tech sector in Montreal, with more than 220,000 people working in this field.

4: A strong fiber optic infrastructure is in place, as well as four major cellular networks.

20: minutes Time between Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport and the proposed site (it is assumed that traffic was not taken into account).

15,000: Number of hotel rooms in the vicinity of the proposed campus.

11: Number of institutions of university education in the metropolis.

  • It is a multicultural city in a country open to immigration, where the cost of living is low compared to other cities.
  • Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa have reportedly provided several tax credits and other tax benefits.
  • “Competitive” electricity rates are offered by Hydro-Québec.


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