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Mayor Emanuel assembles all-star cast to lure Amazon HQ2 to Chicago

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The Mayor’s new committee to land Amazon’s HQ2 is filled with political, civic, and business power brokers

Sterling Bay’s planned Lincoln Yards development has been viewed as a potential site for Amazon’s HQ2.
Sterling Bay

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a team of Chicago power brokers to help lure Amazon’s second headquarters to the Windy City. And in a unique showing of bipartisan support to attract the new HQ2 which Amazon says will house 50,000 high-paying jobs, the new committee is being headed by Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Since Amazon announced plans for second headquarters earlier this month, Chicago—and specifically Mayor Rahm Emanuel—has been bullish about getting the midwestern metropolis at the top of the list of potential cities for the big project. Chicago checks off many of Amazon’s requirements for their second corporate outpost, but the city and state’s fiscal mess and political gridlock has been viewed as one of Chicago’s biggest drawbacks.

However, Emanuel seeks to not only silence critics but show Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other execs that Chicago is making a sincere and earnest effort to put together a plan and team to land Amazon’s coveted HQ2.

In a press release from Mayor Emanuel’s office, the mayor takes an almost overly confident and self-assured tone, something that is not particularly unusual considering the mayor’s public persona as a dealmaker.

“As we prepare the bid to bring Amazon home to Chicago, this committee will highlight the region’s competitiveness and strength as a national and global leader in business, education, research, culture and quality of life,” the mayor states in the announcement.

The renovated Old Main Post Office will make room for thousands of office workers when it is completed in 2019.
601W Companies/Gensler

Meanwhile, Cook County Board President Preckwinkle, who is known as being a more cool and calculating bureaucrat, seeks to tame any doubts regarding state leadership’s ability to work together on a common cause.

“Our region boasts assets unmatched anywhere else in the U.S., and our collaborative approach is clear demonstration of our will to work together, county, city and suburb, and state as well as across party lines, to pursue our mutual goal," Preckwinkle says.

Beyond political and government stakeholders, included in the new committee are dozens of business leaders and heads of nonprofit and civic organizations. A number of prominent leaders in the world of Chicago real estate and architecture are included on the list of committee members. Related Midwest’s Curt Bailey, Sterling Bay’s Andy Gloor, John Buck II of the John Buck Company, and Gensler’s Sarah Bade are just a few.

In total, more than 600 business and civic leaders have been tapped for the committee. Chicago has had to move quick to assemble the cast and put together a big for the HQ2 as Amazon’s October 19th deadline is quickly approaching.