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Chicago Has Officially Submitted Its Bid For Amazon HQ2

By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 16, 2017 10:45PM

Amazon HQ1, Seattle / Getty Images / Photo: David Ryder

Chicago has officially entered the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. The submission of the Chicago area's bid to house the e-retailer's hyper-coveted second headquarters was sent electronically on Monday, according to a joint release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Amazon laid out a specific set of criteria that it seeks from prospective sites when it announced the "open search" early in September; and Rahm was sure to highlight Chicago's apparent suitability in terms of some of those specs: access to mass transit and an ability to attract technical talent.

"Chicago offers unparalleled potential for future growth for businesses of all sizes and is the ideal place for Amazon to build its HQ2," Emanuel said in a release. "This bid will demonstrate to Amazon that Chicago has the talent, transportation and technology to help the company as it reaches new heights and continues to thrive for generations to come."

Rauner said the bid "makes a powerful business case, linking our advantages in innovation, commerce, and R&D with Amazon’s aspirations for growth and talent recruitment."

Amazon claims that the second headquarters will create 50,000 high-paid jobs. The release on Monday cited a study commissioned by World Business Chicago, which claims that HQ2 will generate $341 billion in total spending and $7.4 billion in construction-related spending.

Skeptics meanwhile have cautioned against giving Jeff Bezo's company the huge (perhaps record-breaking) tax-break carrot that could be employed in the courtship.

The announcement does not publicize any potential incentives that may be on the table. It also doesn't name any particular potential sites. Commonly floated Chicago possibilities include the under-renovation Old Main Post Office; the old Michael Reese Hospital campus; the South Loop prairie known as Rezkvoville; and the old Finkl Steel site, now dubbed Lincoln Yards.

Cities have three days left after Monday to submit their bids. Some of the proposals are pretty out there.

Chicago announced late last month that the city had assembled a committee of 600 (!) people from business, non-profit, religious, arts-and-culture and educational backgrounds to help lure Amazon to the city.