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Chicago makes final list of cities for Amazon’s new headquarters

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The tech giant will choose a home for its second headquarters in 2018

The 78 will feature a half-mile riverwalk with buildings setback at least 100 feet from water’s edge.
Rendering by ICON, master planning by SOM, architectural contributions from 3XN.

Amazon released the list of 20 final locations being considered for the home of its second headquarters on Thursday. Chicago is one of those contenders.

The Seattle-based company sorted through 238 applications submitted by cities keen on getting 50,000 high-paying jobs and a $5 billion investment. The call for proposals was announced back in September and initiated a wave of local officials vying to offer the best package of incentives. Chicago’s formal bid included 10 possible sites for Amazon to take into account and an estimated $2 billion in tax incentives.

The finalists include Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Washington D.C., Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta and Miami.

In general, those who made this list were considered strong candidates from the start. Amazon was interested in metropolitan areas with a population of 1 million, major airports and the ability to draw in tech savvy talent.

Local officials and developers in Chicago haven’t held back in attempts to entice Amazon. The city enlisted William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, to narrate its bid video knowing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was a super fan of the science fiction series.

Since Amazon announced the HQ2 search, a number of massive developments have surfaced as potential sites. Sterling Bay pitched an Amazon Stadium within the Lincoln Yards site and a Burnham Lakefront project was announced by Farpoint Development and Draper & Kramer for the vacant Michael Reese Hospital site.

Related Midwest’s mega development, The 78, involving the integration of business, tech, and research universities helped bolster Chicago’s claim on having a thriving tech scene too.

Chicago’s ‘River District’ site consists of 37 acres of waterfront property controlled by Tribune Media.
Solomon Cordwell Buenz

In the next few months, Amazon will further dig into the proposals and determine which locations would be able to handle the hiring plans and infrastructure requirements of such a massive project. The company said it would make its decision in 2018.

In addition to thousands of jobs and billions in investment, the second headquarters’ construction and operation could push beyond initial economic impact estimates. Looking at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, the campus is credited for adding $38 billion to the local economy between 2010 and 2016.