Here are the 10 sites Chicago and Illinois sent to Amazon for HQ2 – Chicago Tribune
Chicago and Illinois on Friday revealed 10 Chicago-area sites — eight in the city and two in the suburbs — pitched for Amazon’s planned second headquarters, but disclosed no financial incentives included in the bid to woo the e-commerce behemoth and up to 50,000 jobs.
The quest to land the company, which seeks a home for a $5 billion headquarters of up to 8 million-plus square feet, has captivated cities large and small since the Seattle-based company asked for proposals six weeks ago.
In the Chicago area, the proposed sites are:
• Lincoln Yards, a development along the Chicago River near Lincoln Park and Bucktown.
• The Downtown Gateway District, which includes space in Willis Tower and redevelopment of the old main post office and Union Station.
• City Center Campus, a proposed redevelopment of the state-owned Thompson Center in the Loop.
• The River District, a 37-acre development along the river and Halsted Street.
• The Burnham Lakefront, a Bronzeville development that includes the Michael Reese Hospital site.
• The 78, a development planned on 62 acres along the river between the South Loop and Chinatown.
• Fulton Market district properties controlled by multiple owners.
• Illinois Medical District redevelopment.
• The soon-to-be-vacated, 145-acre McDonald’s campus in Oak Brook, which the company will leave for Fulton Market.
• More than 260 acres available for development on the longtime Motorola Solutions campus in Schaumburg, where Zurich North America recently built a new headquarters.
“They may want to go horizontal, a la Merchandise Mart,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a Wednesday meeting with the Tribune Editorial Board. “And they may want to go vertical multiple places, all on a tight footprint. My big point to them is, anything you want, in any shape or form, we can do.”
The deadline for cities to submit bids was Thursday. Amazon has not said what happens next, but Emanuel said he anticipates multiple rounds of Amazon paring down its list of contending cities.
New Jersey has offered a $7 billion incentives package, and other states are likely to offer multibillion-dollar packages.
Several developers previously confirmed to the Tribune plans to try to bring Amazon to their Chicago sites.
Other sites revealed Friday included an option to redevelop the state-owned Thompson Center, a 17-story, Helmut Jahn-designed building on 3 acres in the Loop. Before Amazon’s announcement, proposals for the building included preserving the Helmut Jahn-designed tower and building alongside it, or razing the building and replacing it with a supertall skyscraper.
Any new plan would require Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner to cut a deal allowing greater zoning density for the site, paving the way for the state to sell the property at a higher value.
The fast-changing Fulton Market district west of the Kennedy Expressway is also proposed for HQ2, with land owned by multiple landlords offered to Amazon as a campus with several buildings. The neighborhood, long known for meatpackers and food distributors, in recent years has attracted award-winning restaurants, boutique hotels, shops and large offices, including Google’s Midwest headquarters in the former Fulton Market Cold Storage building.
Southwest of there, the city also proposes the Illinois Medical District. There are several developments planned in the area, including a conversion of the old Cook County Hospital into a hotel and apartments.
Handicapping the Amazon headquarters contest has become a cottage industry in its own right and no clear winner has emerged from all the data-crunching.
In one such analysis, Chicago didn’t even make the Top 10 list. Even before cities and states began announcing they were in the hunt, Moody’s Analytics studied how 65 cities with at least 1 million residents measured up against Amazon’s requirements. Austin, Texas, took the top spot, with analysts pointing to its already established tech hub, its well-educated workforce, a cost of living lower than Silicon Valley, a high quality of life, good transportation and a business-friendly environment, among other factors.
Rounding out Moody’s Top 10 contenders, in descending order and excluding Seattle, where it already is based, were Atlanta; Philadelphia; Rochester, N.Y.; Pittsburgh; New York City; Miami; Portland, Ore.; Boston; and Salt Lake City. The Chicago area ranked No. 24.
Chicago fared better — in second place — in a study by Anderson Economic Group that looked at 35 U.S. cities that it said met Amazon’s requirements. Broad categories it looked at were access to labor and services, traffic congestion and public transit systems, and the cost of doing business. New York City took the top spot.
Emanuel emphasized that Chicago has much to offer — including airport and public transportation infrastructure, top universities, a large and well-educated labor pool and a relatively affordable cost of living — and can be flexible to meet Amazon’s real estate needs.
“The sites identified in Chicago’s bid for HQ2 demonstrate the region’s unparalleled potential to support Amazon’s future growth,” Emanuel said in Friday’s news release. “The combination of these prime locations with the country’s most educated population, diversified economy and connected transportation system make it clear that Chicago is the ideal city for Amazon’s second headquarters as the company continues to expand.”
Rauner added: “Our state possesses unmatched business, education, technology, logistics, distribution, and academic research assets. These are the core attributes of a community in which Amazon can thrive. More important, they represent a foundation for talent rich, innovative growth for generations to come.”
A study by World Business Chicago estimated that HQ2 would generate $341 billion in total spending for its ongoing operations over a 17-year period, including $71 billion in salaries and wages. HQ2 would support an additional 37,500 jobs in the region, according to the study.
Construction of a new campus would generate $7.4 billion in construction-related spending, according to the study’s estimates.
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