Why this Seattle tech CEO pulled his firm out of downtown, and isn’t returning anytime quickly

Advert Lightning CEO Scott Moore on the third flooring balcony outdoors his former workplace in Seattle, after a downtown Seattle capturing in January 2020. (GeekWire File Photograph / Kurt Schlosser)

“Till there’s a reputable, sturdy resolution to crime and homelessness within the downtown core, I feel Seattle could have a tough time luring tech corporations again. … Seattle’s authorities leaders have to ship a transparent sign that it desires companies to come back again downtown.”

That was the sentiment expressed by Scott Moore, the CEO of Seattle startup Advert Lightning, in GeekWire’s protection this week of a brand new effort by a coalition of downtown enterprise leaders and non-profit representatives to overtake town’s method to the problem of homelessness. Seattle is “turning into uncompetitive” in comparison with communities on the Eastside, Moore mentioned.

On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, the previous Microsoft, Yahoo and Cheezburger government joins GeekWire’s Mike Lewis and John Prepare dinner to debate his experiences additional. He explains why Advert Lightning exited its downtown Seattle lease final yr and doesn’t plan to return to Seattle each time its staff resume working in particular person.

In associated information this week, Amazon mentioned it expects most U.S. company workplace employees again within the workplace by early fall, together with its headquarters campus north of downtown Seattle. On the identical time, Amazon is boosting its presence in close by Bellevue, Wash., with plans to make use of 25,000 folks there.

As a resident of Seattle for greater than 30 years, and a present metropolis council member within the Eastside metropolis of Clyde Hill, Moore mentioned on the present that he didn’t make the choice to exit downtown Seattle flippantly, and he’s not pleased about it.

“However what I’ve noticed in significantly the final 5 to 10 years is an angle in Seattle that I might characterize as anti-business, and type of anti-job, and that actually has accelerated in the previous few years,” he mentioned. “And it’s unlucky.”

Moore cited Seattle’s head tax proposal as one instance of the anti-business surroundings. The tax on town’s top-grossing corporations, supposed to handle homelessness, was repealed shortly after it handed in 2018 amid opposition from Amazon and others.

As well as, Moore referenced infrastructure issues, visitors congestion, and the homelessness disaster. However crime is the larger challenge, he mentioned, pointing for example to the capturing that occurred in January 2020 outdoors his window in downtown Seattle’s Gibraltar Constructing.

“Proper now, the ledger is biased in opposition to Seattle, in my thoughts, largely due to the crime,” Moore mentioned. “I’ve obtained quite a lot of staff that don’t really feel protected in downtown. After which on prime of that the transit issues. … And when you examine these components to the Eastside, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and even down Renton goes to do properly. All of those areas are principally in competitors with downtown Seattle. And I feel they’re going to learn because of Seattle’s issues.”

Seattle’s authorities, he mentioned, “has to ship a really clear sign that they need tech jobs within the metropolis.”

Hearken to the complete podcast above, which additionally features a dialogue of the marketplace for startup funding, the NFT craze, and tendencies in media startups. Subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app.

Podcast edited and produced by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.Ok. Caldwell.

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