A top Amazon executive said Tuesday the company might exclude the Pacific Northwest for its second headquarters.
The next day Amazon walked back the statement.
On Tuesday, during an on-stage interview at the GeekWire summit in Seattle, Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said Amazon might look outside the Northwest in its search for talent.
“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” Wilke said. “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.”
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On Wednesday, Amazon’s public relations sent out an emailed statement on the company’s intentions for siting its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2:
“We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America, including from communities across the Pacific Northwest.”
More than 100 cities from around the continent say they plan to compete for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Last month the company asked cities to bid on a $5 billion corporate campus that would host up to 50,000 jobs.
Proposals are due to Amazon on Oct. 19.
Wilke’s pronouncement could dash the hopes of officials in Tacoma and several other areas around the state who said they plan to vie for Amazon’s attention.
Last week, Tacoma and Pierce County leaders said they were prepared to submit a proposal to lure Amazon’s second headquarters here, without partnering with counties to the north.
Does this change anything for Tacoma’s pitch? Mayor Marilyn Strickland said the City of Destiny still has a chance.
“There’s a reason the Puget Sound is the fastest-growing region in the nation,” she said Wednesday. “People want to live here. The quality of life is unparallelled. We have a really nice lifestyle here.”
Many officials say that even if the area doesn’t snag Amazon, forming a proposal won’t hurt. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, said last week that building a case for Tacoma helps future efforts.
“I think this helps our community to build the muscles and develop the playbook we need to keep jobs and grow more jobs down the road,” Kilmer said.
Asked why Amazon was splitting its headquarters, Wilke said the company needs the space.
He told the Journal that Amazon plans to add 2 million square feet of office space and 6,000 people in the next 12 months to its Seattle footprint.
“We think it’s important if we’re going to continue to grow, to make sure we have the space,” he told the Journal.
A second headquarters would “diversify the opportunity for people to choose where they would like to live,” he said.