Amazon unveils plans for new downtown office it says will bring 3,000 additional tech jobs to Vancouver

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      Online-retail giant Amazon has announced plans to open another office in Vancouver that it says will bring an estimated 3,000 new tech jobs to the city’s downtown core.

      At a press conference today (April 30), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson joined company representatives who unveiled plans to move into the city’s old Canada Post building that occupies a block of Georgia Street between Homer and Hamilton streets.

      A major redevelopment of the Canada Post building has been winding its way through various bureaucracies at city hall. Today Amazon said they hope to occupy 416,000 square feet of the complex.

      The Seattle-based company already has two large offices in Vancouver where some 2,000 people are employed.

      “Amazon adding 3,000 more jobs here at the Canada Post site in downtown Vancouver is fantastic news for our city, for our city’s economy, and for the burgeoning culture that we have here,” Robertson said at today’s event for media.

      According to a media release issued by QuadReal Property Group, the firm leading the post office's redevelopment, it's expected the project will be completed by 2023 and that Amazon will occupy a full 35 percent of its 1.13 million square feet.

      In 2017, Amazon's revenue was US$177.86 billion.

      The company's founder, Jeff Bezos, is one of the wealthiest people on the planet. According to Forbes, his net worth in 2018 is an estimated US$129.8 billion.

      Amazon increasing the number of people it employees in Vancouver up to roughly 5,000 might not be entirely good news for the city. According to a January 2018 analysis by the Economist, in the United States, counties where Amazon has established a delivery centre pay warehouse workers an average of 10-percent less than counties where Amazon does not operate. (The analysis did not discuss wages for Amazon employees working in tech sectors.)

      The company has also received criticism for what have been described as harsh working conditions in white-collar departments including management and tech.

      B.C. premier John Horgan did not attend the press conference but issued a statement on the news.

      "This investment will advance B.C.'s well-earned reputation as an innovation hub, and will promote growth in all sectors of our economy, in all regions," Horgan said. 

      "We must make sure everyone benefits from the wealth our province creates. Our government will reduce inequality, provide fair conditions for workers, grow and diversify our economy, and open the doors of opportunity for people."

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