Mayor: “All Hands On Deck” To Woo 2nd Amazon HQ To Chicago Area

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city’s bid to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in Chicago will be an “all hands on deck” endeavor.

Although the mayor and Gov. Bruce Rauner have been at odds about most issues lately, Emanuel said city and state officials will be working hard to entice Amazon to open its second headquarters in the Chicago area.

Amazon expects to hire as many as 50,000 people full-time to work at the new facility over the course of several years, with an average annual compensation of $100,000 per employee.

“This is of a scale that’s different. Therefore it’s going to be Chicago, county, and state with one voice; and all the resources, all hands on deck, and all the creativity to that effort, and everybody’s going to be pulling in the same direction. That’s the one thing I want to be clear about,” Emanuel said.

Amazon has outlined its requirements for the complex, which it said will cost as much as $5 billion to build.

Among the requirements, according to the company’s request for proposals:

• A metropolitan area with more than one million people;
• a stable and business-friendly environment;
• proximity to major highways, mass transit and international airports;
• and space for up to eight million square feet for its office complex.

Amazon plans to have the first phase completed in 2019, with additional space added through 2027.

The mayor said Chicago has everything Amazon wants for its second headquarters, including several possible sites.

“I don’t want to pick favorites about sites. That’s for them to pick. We have a multitude of sites, based on the perspective of what they want when they say Amazon in 2030,” he said. “I know, and I don’t want to speak for either the county or the state, but I can say from their staff levels, that we’re going to make sure that we have a unified public-private proposal.”

Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay has said it plans to pursue the second Amazon headquarters at a massive mixed-use project it has proposed for up to 100 acres of land it has acquired along the Chicago River on the North Side, including the old Finkl steel plant.

Other sites mentioned as possible homes for Amazon’s complex include the long-vacant Old Main Post Office spanning the east end of the Eisenhower Expressway, the old Michael Reese Hospital campus, and a 62-acre mixed-use development planned for a vacant stretch of the South Loop along the Chicago River.

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