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Amazon HQ2 No-Go For Portland, But Retail Giant Still Spurs Growth Locally

Portland was considered something of a long shot for Amazon's second headquarters, especially considering its proximity to Seattle. That turned out to be the case, with the Rose City out of the running as of this week.

But that does not mean Portland got nothing out of the competition. 


In a statement on Thursday, Greater Portland Inc. CEO Janet Lebar pointed out that four communities — Beaverton, Clark County, Milwaukie and Portland — each put forward solid proposals, and cooperation among all four (with some help from design firm AECOM) led to a regional, distributed campus option.

"The exposure for Greater Portland as a location for HQ2 beats any paid advertising campaign we could’ve developed," Lebar said. "From the New York Times article, to today’s mention in USA Today — and the countless stories, blogs, tweets, and even betting sites in between — the regional effort led by GPI let the world know that Greater Portland is open for business."

That Amazon HQ2 will not be in Portland does not preclude the retail giant from being a driver in the local real estate market. Earlier this month, for instance, Amazon inked a deal for nearly 85K SF at the under-construction Broadway Tower, nearly doubling its footprint in Downtown Portland.

Cushman & Wakfield Portland Director Aaron Watt, his wife, Murin, and son Kincaid.

The local industrial market is benefiting from Amazon as well.

"2017 represented another very healthy year for leasing activity in Portland’s industrial sector, driven by several mega-leases, in particular Amazon, which continued to grow its presence across the greater metro area," Cushman & Wakfield Portland Director Aaron Watt said.

“Industrial tenant demand remains strong, so we anticipate 2018 to experience continued healthy levels of leasing activity, although it could be hard to outperform 2017 given the magnitude of large leases and/or pre-leases signed last year," Watt said.

Watt predicts net absorption in 2018 is very likely to exceed the 2.3M SF observed in 2017, seeing as 2.6M SF in build-to-suit projects should be completed and occupied this year. 

"That's already baked into our annual growth statistics for this year — and that's without factoring any additional potential tenant growth the remainder of 2018.”