CHICAGO (AP) — The City of Chicago is pushing to land Amazon’s second headquarters.
Once political adversaries, Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are joining forces. CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports on why they are fast tracking the call for help.
As he opened a new Loop office for tech company, PWC, Mayor Emanuel said the city-state team, just back from Seattle, gained further insight into Amazon’s needs and desires.
“They have an idea of what their second future headquarters would look like and I want to make sure we have a first hand, on the ground perspective and appreciation of that as we put our proposal together,” Emanuel said.
The Mayor again touted what he called Chicago’s unparalleled assets in geography, infrastructure, and college-educated workers.
“They’re interested in a workforce of talent – highly skilled, highly educated. They’re interested in an insurance policy on that, meaning the university system, and they say they very clearly want to be within 45 minutes of the airport,” Emanuel said.
And Governor Rauner cited Amazon’s keen interest in public transit.
“It’s very important to Amazon that there’s a high quality transportation system around their campus. They have that in Seattle, they’d like to have that in Illinois,” Rauner said.
That may not bode well for one Chicago site, the old Finkl Steel location, since it is not located near the ‘L’ or Metra; but it could boost the Chicago River site – South of Roosevelt Road, or even the Thompson Center, with a Blue Line Station right in it.
And with bidding about to begin, neither Rauner nor Emanuel were ready to talk about what it will cost in tax incentives to lure Amazon.
“This is kind of a unique situation and one you don’t want to miss. On the other hand, you want to be smart about they way you’re putting all your strengths together,” Emanuel said.
Mayor Emanuel went out of his way not to knock Governor Rauner for saying Monday he is working to assist the St. Louis bid as well. Perhaps one sign of the two trying to play nice to win the bid.
The Mayor has also opened a seven-day window for Chicagoans to nominate property they own as an Amazon site. Emanuel said he is looking for partners to help the city determine what sites in Chicago would be good for Amazon, but the sites must meet Amazon’s requirements, including having enough space, room for expansion and be near transit and O’Hare International Airport. The deadline to nominate space is Sept. 27.
Bids from cities are due in to Amazon between Oct. 17 and Oct. 19, so time is short. Amazon will make a decision next year. The company said it will spend more than $5 billion to house as many as 50,000 employees.