Nike Expands its World Headquarters

Nike Expands its World Headquarters

April 18–Turns out, Nike’s existing home is where its heart lies. At least for now.

The Oregon-based company today put to rest months of speculation, announcing it would expand at its World Headquarters campus in Washington County.

The company said it would build two buildings, expand parking and make road and other campus improvements to support the company’s future growth.

“Our plan is to build one building next to the Tiger Woods Conference Center near the Jerry Rice Building and the other near the C. Vivian Stringer Child Development Center,” spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said.

The Tiger Woods center is on the north side of the 213-acre campus, the Stringer center is on the west side.

In a statement, Nike chief executive Mark Parker said, “Nike is a growth company with a long history in Oregon and we look forward to continuing to grow here.”

Parker thanked Gov. John Kitzhaber, other state officials and those from Portland and Beaverton, and Multnomah and Washington counties “for working with us to expedite and support the proposed design, planning and building of the expansion of our headquarters. We look forward to continued partnerships as we work together to bring this important project to life in Oregon.”

Nike has planned this expansion for more than a year, wanting to relieve its overcrowded campus. Last December, through a Legislative special session engineered through Kitzhaber, the company received tax certainty for the next 30 years.

It was the first of few public steps the company took to today’s announcement. The agreement with the state called for a development valued at a minimum of $150 million with at least 500 new jobs.

Remuzzi would not comment on the construction value of the project.

“No specifics, other than we’ll be in compliance with the commitment we made for the state,” she said.

Since 2007, Nike’s employment in Oregon has grown by nearly 60 percent. More than 8,000 Nike employees and contract workers are employed at its headquarters in Washington County. And more than 2,000 of those employees work in office buildings on the fringe of the campus.

The company plans to begin construction later this year.

The company chose its existing campus for the expansion “due to a number of criteria,” Remuzzi said, “including cost and the benefit of locating our team’s together.”

She added, “Portland was a viable option.”

Later Thursday, she sent a statement saying:

“Portland was a viable, compelling option with the appeal of the urban environment, proximity to talent and our consumer, and the benefits of a development site on the water. Ultimately we decided to expand in Washington County due to a number of criteria including cost and the benefit of locating our teams together.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales issued a statement after Nike’s, saying the city offered the company “a comprehensive and compelling proposal” toward a project that could create as many as 6,000 jobs in coming decades.

“We would have been pleased to see Nike expand in Portland,” he said. “But I’m gratified that the expansion of this home-grown company will happen right here at home. This expansion will have a huge impact on the regional economy.”

Hales added that there was no indication that Nike would expand in Portland as well as Washington County.

City officials knew Nike was expected to make a decision today and were prepared for various scenarios. Nike’s Julia Brim-Edwards, the company’s chief government affairs official, called Hales at about 2:15 p.m. to break the news, spokesman Dana Haynes said.

Kitzhaber’s office issued this statement:

“This is great news for Oregon. Nike’s announcement is a testament to our decisive action in December to boost the state’s economy and benefit all Oregonians. I will continue to work with the Legislature on effective strategies to attract and retain companies that create high-wage jobs and raise per capita income.”

Nike was reportedly exploring an expansion onto the Zidell Yards in Portland’s south waterfront.

“Naturally, we feel some disappointment in Nike’s decision,” said Jay Zidell, president of Zidell Companies.

“A choice by Nike of the Zidell Yards for its expansion would have meant greater clarity and speed regarding the site’s development, and the city of Portland would have benefited from thousands of new jobs.

“However, now that we are no longer in a holding pattern awaiting a decision, the Zidell family will return to the development plans described in our well-received 2012 Master Plan, and begin addressing other prospects. That a company of Nike’s size and influence, facing significant international growth, gave serious consideration to our site validates the attractiveness of the Zidell Yards as a corporate headquarters.”

Andy Duyck, chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that we are proud and pleased to hear this announcement. Nike is our county’s second-largest property tax contributor. Nike employees and families contribute enormously to our community. While this announcement is great for Washington County, it is also a huge boon to the state of Oregon. It has really been a collaborative effort over many months to bring us to this point. Kudos go to the City of Beaverton, the State of Oregon and even to Portland Mayor Hales for all having a “can do” cooperative attitude. The benefits are enormous!”

— Allan Brettman

Brad Schmidt, Christian Gaston, Katherine Driessen, Elliott Njus and Cornelius Swart contributed.

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