The deadline for Amazon HQ2 proposals has passed, and the greater Seattle area is in for three: One from the Tacoma area, one from the Tulalip Tribes, and a Seattle-backed regional proposal from King and Snohomish County.
That last proposal, while spearheaded by the counties, includes submissions from cities and towns throughout the region—and is structured like many proposals stitched together. As a whole, it notes cheaper downtown office space in the Puget Sound region than in many other areas and a high class A office space inventory. It maps out transit routes throughout the region.
While the proposal doesn’t advocate expansion in Seattle proper, it uses Amazon’s history here to sell the greater Seattle area as a whole—going so far as to invite Amazon to “rediscover the Puget Sound” and even including the T.S. Eliot quote, "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
It outlines tax credits and other incentives available in the state, outlined by Governor Jay Inslee’s office earlier this week. But for most of the more concrete appeals—shovel-ready sites, tax incentives—the proposal varies by location. It outlines 10 potential sites for Amazon HQ2, each with tax and permitting incentives specific to their local municipality:
- Arlington and Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center “offers a greenfield opportunity for Amazon to creatively build to suit their needs.” There’s a property tax exemption for manufacturing at this site. This site gives a 24 month timeframe for permitting and review, a little longer than some of the others.
- 129 acres of federally-owned land for sale in Auburn. Incentives at this site include no B&O tax and a construction sale tax refund program. There was no timeline given for this site.
- A site on more than six acres in and near downtown Bellevue gives a timeframe of six to 12 months, and would come with zoning incentives. Another site in Bellevue Wilburton area is due for an upzone in 2018.
- Canyon Park Business Center in Bothell could be approved in four months with expedited permit review. The proposal notes that Bothell doesn’t have a head tax or a B&O tax.
- The 13-acre Everett Public Works site in Everett near Everett station promises a “business-friendly tax policy” with credits and exemptions.
- Lakepointe in Kenmore, located right on on Lake Washington, could start construction in 2020.
- a 19-acre site within Lynnwood City Center would go through an expedited zoning process, SEPA review, and plan review, and come with infrastructure tax impact fee credits.
- Southport in Renton “offers Amazon a unique opportunity to showcase virtually every aspect of your deep culture within your own corporate campus.” The project could be permitted and reviewed in 13 months, and would have local revitalization funding available, plus some business tax credits.
- Tukwila’s offering 225 acres, with three months to design and building permit approval with no public hearings. They’re also offering no B&O tax and no income tax.
- Tulalip Tribes have a 100-acre site available near Quil Ceda, which was also submitted as a standalone proposal. They’re estimating nine months to get through the permitting process.
The proposal also points to “intangible benefits” of the region, including restaurants, arts, and nightlife in Seattle.
Attached to the proposal are letters of support from Seattle mayor Tim Burgess and a letter from other Seattle-area lawmakers, including five city councilors. The Workforce Development Council of Seattle and King County, all five members of the Snohomish County Council, and the Economic Alliance of Snohomish COunty also expressed support.
The proposal also contains short quotes—almost letters of recommendation—from other Washington businesses, including Boeing, Brooks, Alaska Airlines, and Zillow.
While an Amazon exec recently implied that Northwest bids weren’t in the running, an official statement from Amazon said the bids will be given “serious consideration.” Still, this proposal will have stiff competition from a number of cities, from New York to Denver—and those other cities have a different talent pool than Amazon can already find in Seattle.
Final site selection will take place in 2018.