Regional leaders are teaming up to persuade Amazon that there’s more to the Puget Sound area than Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, where most of the internet behemoth’s nerve centers are now clustered.
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and King County Executive Dow Constantine on Thursday outlined their pitch to lure Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2. The effort is supported by nine cities spread throughout both counties, plus the Tulalip Tribes.
“We could go it alone, but we’re convinced we’re stronger as a region,” Somers said.
The collaboration isn’t just about Amazon, which might want some geographical distance between its two main locations. The exercises in regional cooperation might get Everett, Lynnwood or some other city noticed by a different company looking to set up shop.
Amazon’s ideal spot would be within 45 minutes of an international airport. The company wants an educated labor pool and a strong university system nearby.
The company wants to start with at least a half million square feet of building space and possibly expand to as much as 8 million square feet by 2027, or roughly the size of the Seattle campus. The company is seeking tax breaks, grants and other incentives.
The Snohomish County cities in the proposal are Arlington, Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville and Bothell, which straddles both counties.
Most cities and Tulalip tribal government are highlighting one site each:
• Everett’s Public Works Service Center, a 10-acre site on Pacific Avenue that’s near I-5 and Everett Station.
• Lynnwood City Center, the downtown area where city planners have done extensive prep work to improve transit and boost economic development.
• Bothell’s Canyon Park, on a former business campus with enough room for 600,000 square feet of new office space.
• In Tulalip, 100 undeveloped acres near existing commercial areas.
Other pieces of real estate were considered in recent weeks but don’t figure into the final list.
Arlington and Marysville are focusing on their combined manufacturing and industrial area of about 4,000 acres, which includes Arlington Municipal Airport.
“It’s a site for job development with airport, freeway and rail access, which I think is pretty unique,” Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert said.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said the area is poised to benefit from about $70 million in roadway improvements within the next eight years. That would come on top of the new intersection at 172nd Street and coming investments in broadband internet.
Constantine said Bellevue would anchor King County’s part of the package, with supporting roles from Kenmore, Renton and Tukwila.
“It’s being presented as a list of options, each of which could stand on its own,” Constantine said.
The King County executive noted that the various points on the map will soon be “knitted together” by transit, if they aren’t already. He said a decision by Amazon to locate anywhere in the Puget Sound area, including Pierce County, would be welcome news.
The county executives touted the rail and bus rapid-transit upgrades planned over the next quarter century as part of the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package that passed last year. They highlighted the area’s growing higher-education sector, including the University of Washington, UW Bothell and Washington State University’s new Everett campus.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos surprised and excited leaders throughout North America last month by announcing a search for a potential second location equal to the existing headquarters in Seattle. Chicago, New York, Boston and Austin are among the rumored contenders — along with just about every other major metropolitan area in the United States and Canada.
Amazon’s deadline for applications is Oct. 19.