Seattle leaders say they were not surprised by Amazon’s announcement Thursday that neither the city nor King County made the list of finalists for the company's second headquarters, HQ2.
“I'm not totally disappointed. It was somewhat expected,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, hours after Amazon named 20 cities for what it says will be a $5 billion project. “We have our hands full to make sure our headquarters here and the employees here -- that their needs are met and our needs are met.”
“I'm not surprised by the group of cities selected,” said Jon Scholes, President of the Downtown Seattle Association, who counts Amazon as a board member.
Scholes said he had advice for any of the finalists.
“Move quickly. Companies like this and other tech companies are growing quickly within the U.S., and when they locate in your city, they're going to hire a lot of people, and you need to be prepared to move quickly with them on issues like housing and transit and public space. Those are all good things, too,” Scholes said.
He also said Seattle moved too slowly to incorporate the new people.
“Make quick decisions and make investments and we've been slow to respond for the need for housing in this city and its created real pressure," Scholes said.
Harrell admitted there have been mistakes in planning for rapid growth and says it's advice for any second city looking to bring in Amazon.
“Our growth here happened very quickly, and I'll be first to admit that it caught a lot of the leaders on their heels,” Harrell said. “There have been impacts of Amazon's growth that we can't ignore and we can't say that's Amazon's fault. That's all of our faults. There is no way I'm going to say an employer that employs 40,000 people in our city is bad for this city.”