A Noncontroversial Post on the Tacoma vs. Seattle Russell Investments Fight

Russell Investments is deciding whether it wants to stay in Tacoma or move to Seattle. A lot of people are talking about it.

That’s about all I can get away with. The end.

3 Responses to A Noncontroversial Post on the Tacoma vs. Seattle Russell Investments Fight

  1. Dan Voelpel says:

    Chicken. The Puget Sound Regional Council has staked its reputation on spreading the wealth of economic growth to all corners of the Puget Sound Region.

    Remember the Reality Check exercise you sponsored last year as part of the Quality Growth Alliance? You called us together, the leadership of the Puget Sound region, in Seattle to put Legos on top of a map of the region to show where commerce and residential growth should occur.

    Do you recall the result?

    Seattle already had a healthy base. So every one of the 28 tables of participants from throughout the region steered future growth to other regional centers — especially Tacoma.

    Now, you want to stay mum for some measure of political correctness for fear of ticking off the Seattle establishment? Where’s the leadership in that?

    So Seattle is publicly playing coy about recruiting Russell while privately, according the Seattle Times report Sunday, its business and elected leaders are making a Herculean effort behind the scenes to recruit away Tacoma’s No. 1 anchor business?

    C’mon. Russell Investments, if it leaves Tacoma, will set back the office market 10 years, according to analysis in my business column over the last two years covering this issue.

    Where’s Bob Drewel putting a stop to this? If you call yourself the PSRC and the Prosperity Partnership, you would come out publicly — and privately — and end this cannibalistic insanity. It goes against everything you’ve advocated.

    Seattle’s temporary economic speed bump with the loss of WAMU is absolutely no excuse to raid a part of the region that more desperately needs to keep Russell Investments. Russell’s presence in Tacoma could lead to the additional spinoff business growth that you’ve claimed you want to see in Tacoma.

    You should be pressing Seattle’s contingent to back off and do everything it can to keep Russell in Tacoma. Do you now want to ignore all the experts from around the world who you trotted out in front of the Prosperity Partnership gatherings to advocate for growth outside Seattle?

    Put on your Big Boy Pants and take a stand for what you claim you stand for — spreading the wealth around the region to take the pressure off our transportation system.

  2. ericschinfeld says:

    Dan obviously got the satire of my post…that the Russell Investments situation is so controversial that people aren’t sure how to react to it. My favorite quote from the Seattle Times article is:

    “Russell means an awful lot to Tacoma and you sort of have to respect that. They’re our neighbors,” said Alex Fryer, a spokesman for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. He added that “at this point there is nothing on the table in terms of a subsidy” for the firm to move to Seattle. Fryer later asked to change his statement to the official line of the mayor’s office: “No comment.”

    See what I mean? The real story isn’t about the company, it’s really about regionalism and how we all act when the rubber actually hits the road. Can we work together to strengthen the region or do we worry about ourselves only? There have been a couple examples of this recently, including the Sound Transit Proposition One (both times) and now with collaborative efforts around ARRA stimulus dollars. The endgame of this Russell deal looks to be the next major chapter in this book.

  3. Lew McMurran says:

    What is lost in the discussion of why Russell is considering a move in the first place. What particular economic, business or other factors are driving this? Obviously, no city or county wants to lose an important and prestigious “anchor” tenant.

    I find it hard to believe that there is any advantage for Russell to move to Seattle, except as a threat to the Tacoma city leaders to provide new and additional tax benefits to keep operating costs down. Why would any major employer want to deal with Seattle’s politics, taxes, parking, nanniness, etc?

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