Chicago’s Amazon saga is over. After much speculation, the massive online retailer finally announced on Tuesday that Arlington, Virginia and New York City will be the home of its new headquarters. Instead of picking one location, the company decided to split it up. It also announced Nashville would get an operations center with 5,000 jobs.
The proposals from 238 cities went all out, and Chicago was a top 20 contender offering up 10 development sites within the city and suburbs. Now that Amazon has moved on, many of those projects will likely go forward as planned.
Local leaders are struggling to find a way to push Chicago forward into a tech future where startups can grow into multimillion dollar companies and then remain in the city, according to the Chicago Tribune who spoke with Sonia Nagar, vice president at Pritzker Group Venture Capital. Other business leaders and investors interviewed generally felt Chicago’s priorities should focus on attracting tech talent, retaining it, and moving forward with the lessons learned in the Amazon bid process.
So what would have happened if Chicago had scored HQ2? Lots of city’s offered major economic incentives as part of their bids, so its very likely that Chicago would have bent over backwards to appease. The new headquarters would have brought an estimated 50,000 jobs (25,000 when split between two sites) and impact housing needs, transportation, and city resources.
Needless to say, it would be complicated and not necessarily all that great, according to Seattleites who already deal with the company’s primary headquarters on a daily basis. Wherever it calls home, Amazon’s influence looms. In its HQ2 announcement, the company is already rebranding Crystal City in Virginia as National Landing.
- Amazon didn’t choose Chicago for HQ2. Now what? [Chicago Tribune]
- Amazon passes on Chicago for HQ2, here’s what happened [Curbed Chicago]