Denver relying on more than work force, lifestyle to woo Boeing

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DENVER (AP) Colorado is relying on more than lifestyle and an educated work force to lure Boeing Co.'s headquarters.

Gov. Bill Owens and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb on Friday announced the formation of a task force of state, city and business leaders to woo the commercial jet manufacturer and aerospace company's headquarters.

''Presenting a united front between the state of Colorado, Denver and our local business community sends a joint message that we welcome Boeing with open arms,'' Webb said.

Boeing Co. CEO Phil Condit announced this week it will move its headquarters from Seattle, where it was found in 1916, to Chicago, Dallas-Forth Worth or Denver by this fall.

Boeing officials will visit the three cities in three weeks, said Dick Wadhams, spokesman for Owens. Boeing hopes to decide by the end of May where to move. The offices will move to a temporary location in the new city while a permanent location is found.

''Input from this (Colorado) task force should be very helpful,'' said Bill Jarrell, regional director of government relations for Boeing.

City and state leaders said they have not decided what incentives will be offered.

''Our quality of life and work force is what we'll use to compete,'' said James Mejia, deputy director of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade. ''The incentives are not going make or break the deal; they're more symbolic.''

Chicago and Illinois officials last year agreed to pay Ford Motor Co. $84 million to help build a parts manufacturing plant on the city's South Side. Dallas is picking up about a quarter of the cost of an $11.5 million Yahoo! facility in Texas.

Denver has a $1.2 million annual budget to recruit and retain businesses but has provided multimillion dollar incentives on occasion.

Denver provided a $55.3 million taxpayer-funded deal to build a hotel that will be operated by Hyatt as part of the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center.

''We're going to pull out all the stops,'' said Joe Snell, executive director of Metro Denver Network, the economic development arm of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. ''I don't know if it's $1 million, $2 million, or $10 million.''

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