Brampton has revealed its part in an upcoming Greater Toronto Area bid for a second Amazon Headquarters, and it’s city-owned land near the Powerade Centre.
The Brampton site is part of a multi-site bid with 10 spots in Toronto, Peel, York, Durham, and Halton. It would be located on 112 acres of city-owned and fully-serviced land on Kennedy Road just north of the 407. Fully-serviced means that all of the infrastructure needs (water, power, sewage, fiber optics) have already been routed into the area.
The city conceptual diagram proposes that the existing Powerade Centre be demolished and relocated on-site. However, this isn’t guaranteed. The city does suggest on the bid site, in contrast to the diagram they created, that there isn’t a plan to tear down the arena, but it would depend on Amazon’s interests. They may instead re-purpose the facility, or expand it and merge it with a new development.
There will several tall office buildings, a hotel, convention centre, a new public square, and several mid-rise buildings.
What makes this site attractive to the regional bid is that apparently the city is willing to expedite the process to approve any developments.
Brampton is already home to two Amazon fulfillment centres, the largest facilities in Canada. The city economic development department also boasts of 200 restaurants within a three mile radius of the site. Low housing prices are another key factor to the Brampton bid.
The site is in a bit a transportation quagmire, compared to other sites in the region. While the Brampton bid page says “the site is served by Brampton’s Züm Bus Rapid Transit system,” that simply isn’t true. The closest Zum stop, as Steeles and Kennedy, is at least a kilometre away. The city’s transportation masterplan doesn’t have a 507 Kennedy Zum running until 2041, though that could be expedited.
Similarly, the proposed transit improvements are confusing. While a Kennedy rapid transit line has been proposed as part of the Hurontario LRT alternatives, that is north of Steeles, whereas there is a proposed line that would go south of Steeles, and then across Courtneypark to Dixie. There has been a proposed Steeles rapid transit line, but that would run straight across the city. The “Amazon Mass Transit” line would likely be the 407 Transitway West, except a Kennedy Station isn’t being studied. A station in the area was dropped due to a lack of land, and 407 Transitway is envisioned to run south of the 407.
The city is also proposing an off ramp from the 410 south, and on-ramp to the 407 west, in order to connect this development to highways.
Concerned residents wondering if this is simply a corporate giveaway should be relieved that the city doesn’t intend to just give the land away: “the City is prepared to negotiate with any prospective owner or tenant of this site.”
Amazon released details on the requirements to build a second headquarters in North America on September 7. The tech giant expected to invest $5 billion on the winning bid and to hire 50,000 high-paying employees to work there. The Amazon bid requirements can be seen on this web page.