CHICAGO (CBS) — Amazon is taking a closer look at a location in the South Loop as a potential site for its giant new headquarters.
If the online retailer chooses Chicago for its so-called HQ2, it would bring approximately 50,000 jobs and boost the city’s status as a top player in high-tech commerce. Their massive facility would bring sweeping changes to whatever neighborhood they choose.
Source said last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel led Amazon’s selection team on another visit to a South Loop site along the Chicago River, known as The 78, which is the site of a 62-acre mixed-use development project proposed by Related Midwest. Amazon real estate experts also toured the site and four other locations in Chicago during their initial visit in March to scout potential locations for their second headquarters.
Amazon has said it will invest billions of dollars to create its HQ2.
Related Midwest has said it plans to build about 13 million square feet of buildings at The 78 site.
South Loop residents said they see benefits and disadvantages to bringing such a massive development project to the area.
“I think it could be good and bad. As far as traffic, I think it could have a major impact over here. I feel like it’s already getting busier over here,” Michele Miller said. “Then it would be, as far as taxes, if they’re going to go up or go down, I would think that they’d go up, since there’d be so much more action over here.”
Miller said she’d give it a “thumb’s sideways” if Amazon HQ2 came to the South Loop.
Eugene Murphy was more upbeat, especially the prospect of 50,000 new jobs for Chicago.
“I think it would be a good thing,” he said.
The race to host HQ2 began last year, with applications from more than 230 cities. Amazon has since narrowed down the list to 20 contenders, including Chicago. Many analysts seem to believe Washington, D.C. is the current front-runner.