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Amazon’s HQ2 selection team to visit Chicago

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City officials will be quietly rolling out the red carpet behind a shroud of secrecy.

A conceptual rendering of Amazon HQ at Lincoln Yards.
Sterling Bay/SOM

Representatives from Amazon are headed to Chicago in the coming days to tour candidate sites for the company’s coveted HQ2 second headquarters. The visit—part of an effort by the e-commerce giant to evaluate the 20 North American municipalities on its January shortlist—is set for March 21 and 22.

Though details of the visit are obscured in secrecy behind non-disclosure agreements, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Amazon’s team will inspect “at least three” of the ten locations that comprised the city’s official bid.

These sites include the rapidly changing Fulton Market District, Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards development slated the former North Branch Industrial Corridor, and Related Midwest’s sprawling South Loop parcel known as The 78. Tours of other sites are also possible.

A team of civic and corporate Chicago leaders are expected to play up the city’s strengths such as its mass transit system, major international airport, access to top university talent, and comparatively low costs of living. The upcoming visit comes on the heels of Amazon’s tour of locations around New York City and metropolitan Washington D.C.

A conceptual rendering showing The 78. The mixed-use campus will be anchored by a new innovation center.
Rendering by ICON, master planning by SOM, architectural contributions from ASGG and SOM.

Meanwhile, an independent Chicago-based HQ2 marketing push known as the People’s Pitch is preparing to release its own crowd-sourced itinerary for Amazon’s team. Separate of Chicago’s official bid, the campaign comes from 18 local public relations and communications companies and allows Chicagoans to cast votes for their favorite restaurants, parks, cultural institutions, and hidden neighborhood gems.

Amazon’s unusual and very public approach towards selecting a second headquarters saw more more than 200 cities answer the initial call. According to the company, the HQ2 deal is worthy 50,000 high-tech jobs and billions of dollars in investment. Amazon is expected to announce its final selection this year and begin construction as soon as 2019.