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The Sheraton Seattle broke ground yesterday on an expansion at Sixth Avenue and Union Street that will be one of the city’s biggest construction sites over the next two years.

The hotel is adding 415 rooms in a 25-story second tower. When it’s finished in spring 2007, Sheraton says, the hotel will have 1,253 rooms, making it the city’s largest.

Sheraton is a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels, which also operates the 891-room Westin Seattle and the 426-room W Seattle.

Western Wireless

Shareholders OK merger with Alltel

Western Wireless shareholders yesterday approved the Bellevue company’s $4.4 billion merger with Alltel as expected, the company announced.

All regulatory approvals have been obtained, and the merger’s effective date is Monday.

One outcome could be a reduction of Western Wireless’ 4,000-person staff, which includes about 800 people in Bellevue and Issaquah.

The merger with Little Rock, Ark.-based Alltel creates the fifth-largest wireless carrier in the United States, with about 10 million customers in 33 states.


Progress reported on China contracts

Five of the six Chinese airlines that announced orders in January for 60 Boeing 787s could complete contracts as early as next week, according to a report from the official Xinhua news agency in Beijing.

The report cited sources from the State Development and Reform Commission.

The one airline holdout — not listed as ready to sign — is China Southern, which has an order for 10 of the 60 jets. But Boeing officials said they did not think this omission indicated any scaling back of the order.

“Nothing has changed with the original agreement,” said 787 program spokeswoman Yvonne Leach. “We are in the process of working with the six Chinese airlines to finalize the previously announced commitments. We’re coming close.

“If five of the six airlines are ready to sign, that shows great progress.”

Separately, All Nippon Airways said it’s ordering three 767 aircraft for delivery by March 2007. The order includes two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and one freighter, valued at up to $416.5 million at list price.


President receives $1.1 million bonus

Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike said yesterday that President and Chief Executive William Perez received $467,308 in salary and a $1.12 million bonus for the year ended May 31.

Perez, who took over as the athletic-footwear and apparel giant’s president and chief executive last December, also received restricted stock awards valued at $9.09 million and 200,000 stock options with an exercise price of $90.85, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Dow Jones Newswires