Wednesday marks the deadline for locations in the Chicago area to apply to become the next headquarters for Amazon.
The city has been searching for potential locations as part of their bid to bring the retail giant's second headquarters, referred to as HQ2, and its 50,000 jobs to the Chicago area.
The city has until Oct. 19 to submit its proposal to Amazon.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched an all-out effort to land the project. With a committee of more than 600 leaders from varying backgrounds, Chicago is determined to meet the company's requirements.
So what exactly is Amazon looking for? The company says it has a preference for metropolitan areas with more than one million people, a “stable and business-friendly environment,” urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, and communities that “think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.”
As far as those options go, sites should be ready to develop, Amazon says. They’re looking for a location that has an initial capacity for 500,000 square feet of space, with the ability to expand up to 8 million square feet over the next 10 years. Amazon wants its second headquarters to be within 30 miles of a population center, within 45 minutes of an international airport, no more than one to two miles from major roads and highways, and with access to mass transit on site.
The City said only property owners may nominate a location, and that respondents – who are encouraged to partner with other entities – must have “demonstrated experience and wherewithal” to deliver a project that fits the city’s and Amazon’s requirements.
“We're looking for partners to put their best foot forward and help us determine which sites have the best potential to drive growth for Amazon and Chicago,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “While we have many sites that meet Amazon’s requirements, there is only one city that offers unmatched potential for future success – Chicago.”
Some of those sites could include near the new Google headquarters in the Fulton Market District, the Old Main Post Office downtown, the former Finkl Steel site near Lincoln Park, or even the property of the old Michael Reese Hospital that was set aside for an Olympic Games that never occurred.
As restaurant giant McDonald’s prepares to move out of its Oak Brook headquarters and into Chicago, the campus is also being proposed as a potential site.
DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin says the county is working with the city of Chicago, who is rumored to be one of the biggest contenders for the new facility.
Not everyone is enthused about the project, as Illinois gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss cautioned about giving up too much to land Amazon’s new campus.
“When states compete with each other, trying to hand out as big of incentives as possible, they get trapped in a race to the bottom,” he said.
Cities in other states are also in on the bidding, including Austin, Atlanta, and St. Louis, but even if Oak Brook doesn’t land the project, Chairman Cronin says the McDonald’s headquarters will not sit empty.