Nike picks Washington County for HQ expansion

Nike picks Washington County for HQ expansion
The red Nike swoosh marks the entrance to the company's headquarters campus in Beaverton, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Nike Inc. on Thursday said it has chosen Washington County as its preferred site for a headquarters expansion.

The company will build two new buildings, adding 500,000 square feet of new office space to its 213-acre campus in unincorporated Washington County. Spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said the plan is to erect one new building adjacent to the Tiger Woods Conference Center and near the Jerry Rice Building. The second new building would be located near the C. Vivian Stringer Child Development Center on campus.

To put the size of the construction into context, Portland's U.S. Bancorp Tower — commonly referred to as "Big Pink" — is 1.1 million square feet. So Nike is proposing to construct new buildings that, combined, are nearly half the size of Big Pink.

Construction will begin later this year.

The global athletic footwear and apparel brand (NYSE: NKE) in December urged the state Legislature to pass a bill providing the company with "tax certainty."

At Nike's request, the state Legislature in December special session rushed through a bill ensuring companies that spend $150 million and hire 500 new workers would have certainty that the state's tax structure wouldn't change for them once making the investment.

In advocating for the bill, Nike said it would commit to a $150 million expansion and create 500 new jobs in Oregon, rather than considering expansion elsewhere.

“This is great news for Oregon," said Gov. John Kitzhaber in a statement. "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.”

Following the bill's passage, the next question was about where Nike would expand, with sites in Portland's South Waterfront, Beaverton and Washington County being part of the speculation.

In an e-mailed statement, Remuzzi said Nike considered Portland "a compelling option."

"But ultimately we decided to expand in Washington County due to a number of criteria including cost and the benefit of locating our teams together," she said.

Nike CEO Mark Parker on Thursday thanked public officials, including those in Portland and Beaverton, for helping expedite the design and planning of the expansion.

"We look forward to continued partnerships as we work together to bring this important project to life in Oregon," Parker said in a news release.