Update Oct 11, 2 p.m: Amazon sent GeekWire this statement regarding its HQ2 search: “We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America, including from communities across the Pacific Northwest.”
Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke implied that the company’s second headquarters will be in a city outside the Pacific Northwest during an on-stage interview at the GeekWire Summit Tuesday.
“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.”
It isn’t a shocking revelation. There are a number of reasons it makes sense for Amazon to establish its second corporate headquarters a little farther from its hometown, Seattle, as Wilke noted. But it does mean efforts from cities in the Pacific Northwest may be in vain.
King and Snohomish County are jointly responding to Amazon’s request for proposals by pitching a series of potential locations in cities neighboring Seattle. Tacoma is submitting its own proposal, Portland officials are considering responding, and Vancouver, B.C. is putting $50,000 behind its play for HQ2.
Wilke stressed that Amazon’s ambitions to leave the Northwest are nothing personal.
It’s about “room and talent and diversity of environment for people,” he said, adding later “We love Seattle … It’s been a great home for us.”
Amazon is still planning to grow in its original hometown, adding another 6,000 new employees to its current Seattle workforce of 50,000 and expanding to 2 million more square feet of office space. But the company’s appetite for growth is bigger than that. Amazon is planning to hire an additional 50,000 employees and occupy up to 8 million square feet of office space at its new headquarters.
“We are excited about Seattle, but we want another place where we can also grow,” Wilke said.