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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says state is talking with Amazon about ‘HQ2’ implications

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the 2017 Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund)

Amazon will no doubt get offers from all over the nation for its second headquarters project, but Washington officials are talking about how they can keep the retail giant inside state lines.

Speaking at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference in Seattle Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he has spoken with Amazon leaders wants to better understand the company’s needs for its second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs that will eventually come with it. The state is also learning more about which cities in Washington are interested and make sense as a landing spot.

“There are important discussions going on now about the future of Amazon,” Inslee said. “We are excited about this amazing company, and it is an amazing company because it understands fundamentally that innovation is the stock and trade of our state, so I am looking forward to those discussions.”

Several Washington state cities have thrown their hat into the ring or been suggested as good options for Amazon’s “HQ2” project. Tacoma, a city about 30 miles south is making a play for HQ2. Bellevue, where Amazon recently opened a big office, has been suggested as a landing spot. According to the Everett Herald, former Amazon senior manager and Democratic State Sen. Guy Palumbo has suggested Everett or Bothell as a candidate for the new headquarters.

Much of the speculation about where the second headquarters will end up has focused on big cities. There’s a reason why. Amazon is looking to be within 30 miles of a major population center and 45 minutes from an international airport, with quality transportation options. Amazon will need a lot of land for the $5 billion campus, which could be as big as 8 million square feet by 2027. Amazon is also looking for what it calls a “stable, business-friendly environment.”

These requirements could eliminate some of the smaller Washington cities, but what about a “Cascadia” proposal from a united Washington state and British Columbia, possibly buoyed by a high-speed train between Seattle and Vancouver?

“As far as some joint proposal, it’s way too early to say or answer that question,” Inslee said.

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