Does the Northwest Have a Prayer of Landing Amazon’s HQ2?

Does the Northwest Have a Prayer of Landing Amazon’s HQ2?

Not really, an executive implied at a technology conference. The company quickly disavowed that view.

EVERETT — It went from little chance to no chance to a sliver of a chance in the space of a few hours.

Amazon executive Jeff Wilke told a GeekWire Summit on Tuesday that the retail giant won’t build a second headquarters in the Pacific Northwest. The site is being called HQ2.

“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” said Wilke in an article in GeekWire, a Seattle technology news site. “It’s been terrific for me and my family, but I think we may find another location allows us to recruit a different collection of employees.”

The company released a statement Wednesday walking back those comments: “We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America, including from communities across the Pacific Northwest.”

Amazon announced last month that it would build a second completely equal headquarters somewhere in North America. The company is seeking proposals by Oct. 19.

The company wants to start with at least a half million square feet of building space and possibly expand to as much as 8 million square feet by 2027, or roughly the size of the Seattle campus. The company is seeking tax breaks, grants and other incentives.

A host of cities have been making efforts trying to entice Amazon to build in their back yard and bring tens of thousands of well-paying tech jobs.

Last week, Snohomish and King counties and the Tulalip Tribes submitted a joint proposal featuring several sites in the counties, including the Lynnwood City Center, on undeveloped land in Tulalip and Bothell’s Canyon Park.

On Monday, Pierce County submitted its own proposal, saying it felt its bid would be stronger without Snohomish and King counties.

Snohomish and King county officials submitted their bid knowing it could face tough sledding in this competition. The exercise isn’t just a wasted effort.

“We are constantly working to bring more companies and employers to the region,” Snohomish County Councilman Terry Ryan said. “The more we do this, the better we get at it and the more likely it is that we’re going to land some major employers coming out here.”

State Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, a former senior manager with Amazon, said shortly after the competition was announced the region should go through the process to see what could happen.

“If it doesn’t work out for 50,000 workers and HQ2, it doesn’t mean we won’t entice them to bring a couple thousand jobs to Snohomish County,” he said at the time.

Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; jdavis@heraldnet.com; @HBJnews.


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