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Which Chicago sites are the most likely candidates for Amazon’s HQ2?

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Mayor Emanuel has not revealed info on which developers are looking to enter the HQ2 contest

The redeveloped Old Main Post Office will deliver 2.8 million square feet of mixed-use space
601W Companies/Gensler

As the days count down to Amazon’s October 19 deadline to submit proposals for its coveted second headquarters, we’re likely to hear much more about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to lure the big corporate outpost to Chicago. This week, the mayor announced a massive 600+ person committee composed of civic, political, and business leaders to work together on getting these jobs to Chicago. And while New York has revealed details on how many different neighborhoods are vying for the HQ2 project, Chicago’s mayor has kept a tight lid on Chicago’s strategy.

However, Mayor Emanuel’s list of committee members is telling. Names like Curt Bailey from Related Midwest, Andy Gloor from Sterling Bay, and Dave Carlins from Magellan Development make the list while leaders of other major Chicago developers were left out. Numerous outlets have highlighted sites like Related Midwest’s sprawling 62-acre South Loop site and Sterling Bay’s massive collection of North Branch properties as some of Chicago’s top candidates for such a corporate outpost. Does Mayor Emanuel’s list of committee members offer a hint as to which developers we can expect to see participate in formal proposals for Amazon’s HQ2?

A rendering for Sterling Bay’s planned Lincoln Yards megadevelopment.
Sterling Bay

In terms of individual buildings, the Old Main Post Office and Union Station redevelopment also seem like very promising candidates for the headquarters. In addition, the development of Chicago Tribune’s riverfront site will deliver a substantial amount of new office space to a prominent downtown location. However, the developers behind these projects—601W Companies (Old Main Post Office) and Riverside Investment (Union Station and Tribune riverfront redevelopment)—don’t make an appearance on Mayor Emanuel’s committee of stakeholders working on the Amazon effort.

What will Chicago’s proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 ultimately look like? Can we expect to see a number of different bids from various developers, or will the mayor seek control over who gets to bid and who doesn’t? Will the city try to plant Amazon in one central location, or will HQ2 be split over multiple locations and offices in Chicago?