$2.2 Billion Incentives Offered To Amazon Not Raising Alarms For Aldermen

CHICAGO (CBS) — The big incentive package the state and city have offered to Amazon to land its coveted “HQ2” might be raising eyebrows, but not too many concerns among Chicago aldermen.

Ald. David Moore (17th) said, if Amazon chooses the Chicago area as the site of its second headquarters, and the campus is built on land not currently generating taxes, then the combined $2.25 billion in financial incentives is not alarming.

“You give them that incentive that you were not getting anyway, but what comes is revenue from sales tax revenue, income tax revenue; and then people come moving, then you have real estate tax revenue,” he said.

Incentives offered by the Emanuel administration and the Rauner administration reportedly include $1.3 billion in state EDGE tax credits, $450 million in state and city funding for infrastructure improvements, $250 to help train a workforce, $170 million in sales tax and utility tax exemptions, $61 million in property tax discounts.

The Seattle-based tech company has said it plans to spend $5 billion on its second headquarters, which would employ about 50,000 people.

The city and state have proposed 10 possible sites in the Chicago area:

• A “City Center Campus,” which would redevelop the state’s James R. Thompson Center in the Loop;
• a “Downtown Gateway District,” which would include space in the Willis Tower, the Old Chicago Main Post Office, and a redeveloped Union Station;
• “Lincoln Yards,” a stretch of riverfront property in Bucktown and Lincoln Park, including the old Finkl steel stie;
• “The River District,” a 37-acre stretch of riverfront land at Halsted Street’
• Fulton Market District property;
• redevelopment within the Illinois Medical District;
• “The 78,” a 62-acre site in the South Loop along the Chicago River;
• “Burnham Lakefront,” the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital, just west of Lake Shore Drive near 31st Street Beach and Marina;
• the soon-to-be vacant McDonald’s headquarters campus in Oak Brook;
• and more than 260 acres available for redevelopment in Schaumburg, on the former site of the Motorola headquarters campus.

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