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Chicago still reportedly in the hunt for coveted Amazon HQ2 headquarters deal

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While far from a done deal, top officials feel quite good about Chicago’s odds compared to competing cities

A delegation of Illinois-based heavy hitters is touring Amazon’s Seattle base of operations today.
Amazon

Despite Amazon putting just about every major metro on the North American continent on notice when it issued a request for proposals for its second corporate HQ, officials from both Chicago City Hall and Springfield are reportedly still bullish on the Windy City landing the lucrative ‘HQ2’ deal. As delegates from both the Emanuel and Rauner administrations tour Amazon’s current Seattle HQ today in a rare moment of city-state cooperation, Greg Hinz of Crain’s reports that Chicago is indeed in the hunt to score what some have called the biggest economic development prize in a generation.

“The good news is that we have all the things they're looking for. Chicago certainly is a top competitor,” Mark Peterson of Intersect Illinois explained to Hinz. Chicago ticks several key boxes on Amazon’s must-have list including a major international airport, a functional mass transit system, the ability to attract young talent, and a commercial real estate market that can quickly deliver a couple million square feet of office space while providing room for future expansion (we’re looking at you, Old Post Office).

With 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in corporate investment at stake, Chicago will face stiff competition despite its leg-up in the aforementioned categories. With just about every eligible municipality licking its chops at the prospect of landing the Amazon deal, economic incentives are sure to play a big role in the tech firm’s selection process. Peterson told Crain’s that Illinois’ Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credit Program will be included in Chicago’s bid and also hinted at the possibility of additional incentives.

Mr. Peterson is joined by Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin, World Business Chicago chief Jeff Malehorn, mayoral confidant Michael Sacks, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Chicago Department of Planning & Development Commissioner David Reifman in what has been described as more of a fact-finding mission than an outright sales pitch at Amazon’s Seattle base of operations today. Chicago’s coordinated city/state proposal must be submitted before Amazon’s October 19th deadline.