Chicago Developer Announces Plan for Former Steel Site in Hopes of Enticing Amazon

A Chicago real estate development firm released a new plan for the former Finkl Steel site on Wednesday – with tech giant Amazon in mind.

Sterling Bay named a design team for what the company is now calling Lincoln Yards, the more than 30-acre site along the Chicago River on the city’s North Side.

“Lincoln Yards is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform an underutilized area of the city into a neighborhood built for the modern needs of Chicagoans,” Sterling Bay’s Managing Principal Andy Gloor said in a statement, adding that the team selected to helm the project has a “shared vision that will allow the neighborhood to realize its full potential.”

That vision, depicted in renderings released Wednesday, is one of a mixed-use development that is expected to include open spaces, access to the Chicago River, a new Metra train station and an extension of the 606 trail westward to meet the combination of office, residential and retail space.

Bounded by the Kennedy Expressway to the west, Webster Avenue to the north, Clybourn Avenue to the east and North Avenue to the south, developers hope the site’s renovations will be incentive enough to lure Amazon to choose Chicago as the site of the company’s second headquarters.

Amazon announced last Thursday that it’s searching for a location for its second North American headquarters, which will eventually house 50,000 employees – a revelation that has caused cities across the U.S. to engage in a charm offensive to lure the company in.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have both publicly said they are committed to creating an incentive package to woo Amazon, which plans to invest $5 billion in the new site.

"Chicago is a strong tech market," Gloor told the Chicago Tribune. "Chicago as a city has a lot to offer someone like Amazon. If you're looking at Chicago and trying to build a second headquarters, 100 acres of riverside land between Lincoln Park and Bucktown feels like a good place to start.”

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