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Amazon reps reportedly spotted touring Chicago’s former Finkl Steel site

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The North Branch property is a central part of developer Sterling Bay’s bid to lure Amazon’s coveted HQ2 to Chicago

An artist’s conceptual rendering showing how Amazon could anchor Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards development.
Sterling Bay

While things have been relatively quiet on the Amazon front since Chicago submitted its official bid for the ‘HQ2’ second headquarters last month, representatives from the Seattle-based e-commerce giant were recently spotted in the Windy City. According to a source reported by Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times, Amazon reps were observed at Lincoln Park’s former Finkl Steel plant taking notes and photos.

The 28-acre property is a key piece of developer Sterling Bay’s sprawling, 100-acre Lincoln Yards campus envisioned for the banks of the Chicago River’s evolving North Branch Corridor. Estimated to cost $10 billion, the mixed-use mega-development would also encompass the city’s former vehicle fleet maintenance facility and several other parcels.

The now-vacant land of the former Finkl site dominates the center of this aerial photo of Chicago’s North Branch Corridor.

Sterling Bay provided Amazon with several configurations for HQ2 should the company choose Lincoln Yards. Possible layouts include a pair of connected high-rise towers bridging both sides of the river, a multi-tiered “mega floor plate” concept topped with green space, and an “urban campus” scheme featuring buildings centered around an open quadrangle.

The sprawling, 8-million-square-foot Lincoln Yards complex could also include a multimodal rail complex, a zig-zagging eastern extension of Chicago’s 606 Trail, and even an Amazon-branded sports stadium.

It’s unknown if the Amazon reps also surveyed any of Chicago’s other HQ2 bid sites—ten in total—while they were in town. The city is currently jockeying for position against literally hundreds of other North American municipalities that have answered the company’s September request for proposals.

Described as the biggest tech prize in recent memory, the HQ2 deal is estimated to be worth upwards of $5 billion in investment and add 50,000 jobs to the local economy.