At the Geekwire summit on Tuesday, Amazon worldwide consumer CEO Jeff Wilke seemed to hint that their second headquarters won’t be located in the Pacific Northwest. But officially, Amazon maintains that’s not the case.
“We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America,” said Amazon spokesperson Adam Sedo, “including from communities across the Pacific Northwest.”
Two separate efforts to keep the headquarters in the area are underway, one from King and Snohomish counties and the other from Tacoma and the south Sound. A King County spokesperson directed Curbed Seattle to Amazon for comment.
“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” said Wilke during an onstage interview. “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.”
Could’ve fooled Amazon of four years ago, who produced a video singing “outdoorsy” Seattle’s praises for recruitment purposes (“Everybody runs! Everybody does Crossfit!”), giving away the local secret that it actually doesn’t rain that much.
Still, a major consideration for the second headquarters is the ability to attract a talent pool—and Amazon already has access to Seattle-area tech talent.
Wilke’s words could be worrisome for some. Since the second-headquarters announcement, many have been keen to keep Amazon around. That includes city councilor Bruce Harrell during his brief stint as interim mayor, when he signed an executive order directing the city to bid. “Amazon’s decision to launch and grow here has brought tremendous benefits and real challenges,” said now-interim mayor Tim Burgess presenting his city budget. Business groups jumped to defend Amazon—although they hadn’t asked for it—against Seattle’s business environment.
But not everyone wants Amazon to live in the Northwest, either. The company’s HQ2 announcement stirred up already tense feelings about their presence in Seattle, summed up in the extremely direct Crosscut headline, “Amazon earned Seattle’s hostility.”