The CEO of a billion-dollar investment firm said his company is getting out of Seattle just in time as residents accuse Mayor Jenny Durkan of letting the city's so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest get out of hand and turn deadly.
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"The unrest that has taken place in the city of Seattle … there is really is not a downtown business community today," Smead Capital Management President Cole Smead told KTAR News on Monday.
Smead Capital announced the decision to move to Phoenix's Camelback Corridor last week.
"My biggest concern for Seattle was what the business community is going to come back to, and what kind of businesses are going to come back for customers," Smead told KTAR News.
Phoenix will offer Smead Capital employees a lower cost of living and a better quality of life, Smead said.
"We announced our decision to move to Phoenix internally to our staff in January, long before COVID shutdowns or nationwide protests made their way to Seattle. ... nothing happening or being reported in the news right now had any weight in our decision to relocate from Seattle to Phoenix," Smead said in a statement Tuesday.
Durkan said Monday that city officials are working to break up the protest zone near Seattle's downtown after two shootings there this past weekend, one of them deadly.
Meanwhile, area business owners and residents had been frustrated by the lack of police protection.
"I keep trying to wrap my heads around the fact that we have no protection, and I've pretty much come to terms that we have no protection here," auto shop co-owner John McDermott told KOMO News after the shootings.
McDermott said his business, Car Tender, was broken into and no officers responded earlier in June.
This post has been updated to identify Cole Smead as president of Smead Capital after listing him as president and CEO. This post has been updated with a statement from Cole Smead.