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GSI sees value in Amazon headquarters bid despite exec’s comments about Pacific Northwest’s chances

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 11, 2017, 6:54 p.m.

The Amazon logo is displayed at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square in May. (Associated Press)
The Amazon logo is displayed at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square in May. (Associated Press)

Hours after a top executive said Amazon isn’t likely to build its second headquarters in the Pacific Northwest, the company issued a statement backing away from his statement.

“We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America, including from communities across the Pacific Northwest,” said the statement, which was issued Wednesday.

A day earlier, Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke suggested in a GeekWire interview that the Northwest was an unlikely location for the company’s second headquarters.

“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” GeekWire quoted Wilke as saying. “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.”

An Amazon spokesman said in an email that Wilke’s comments were misconstrued in the article’s headline.

The Spokane metro area is among several in Washington that plan to submit a proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters. The chance to land a $5 billion headquarters and 50,000 jobs over the next 10 to 15 years has attracted interest from more than 100 metro areas in the U.S. and Canada. Proposals are due Oct. 19.

“There’s a lot of speculation and curiosity about what … Amazon is looking for in a second headquarters,” said Todd Mielke, CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, which is putting together the Spokane area’s proposal.

Geographic diversity could be a priority, but Amazon officials haven’t disclosed that, Mielke said. Either way, submitting a proposal could help Spokane land a piece of Amazon’s business operations in the future, he said.

“Our goal as a community is to make sure we get on Amazon’s radar,” Mielke said. “There are communities all across the country where Amazon has a presence.”

Amazon expects to choose a new headquarters location next year. The company has indicated a perference for a metro area of more than 1 million people; highly trained technical workforce; international airport; mass transit; business friendly environment; and state and local relocation incentives.



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Then and Now: McGoldrick Lumber

James P. McGoldrick, born in 1859, started in the timber business in Minnesota. Seeing that most of the lumber he sold came from the Northwest, he moved to Spokane in 1906 and bought a mill south of Gonzaga College, east of downtown Spokane.