Chicago's on the short list for Amazon's HQ2

by Andreas Rekdal
January 18, 2018
Image via amazon

Chicago is on the short list for Amazon’s HQ2 — and the 50,000 jobs it will house.

On Thursday morning, the Seattle tech company released a list of 20 metropolitan areas still under consideration for hosting its second North American headquarters, revealing that Chicago is in the running. The company plans to invest $5 billion into its second headquarters, which will accommodate up to 50,000 jobs.

Narrowed down from an initial batch of 238 proposed locations, the list also includes tech hubs like Austin, Boston, Denver, LA and New York City, among others. Amazon said it will use the proposals as a guide in expansion decisions beyond its HQ2 plans.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy in a statement. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Amazon is already bolstering its presence in Chicago. In July last year, before its HQ2 plans were made public, the tech titan announced plans to double its headcount in the city.

The next step in the process will be to work with each of the candidates “to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information as necessary and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate [Amazon’s] hiring plans as well as benefit [its] employees and the local community,” according to the company.

Amazon said locations were chosen based on criteria outlined in its initial request for proposals, issued in September 2017. Those criteria include a population of 1 million or more, a “stable and business-friendly environment,” and being an attractive location for prospective technical hires. The company also expressed an interest in a willingness to “think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.”

Chicago’s proposal to the company included 10 potential locations, spanning the Loop, Fulton Market, Lincoln Yards and Bronzeville. The proposal also included plans to repurpose the old main post office, McDonald’s old Oak Brook campus and the Motorola Solutions campus in Schaumburg, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Amazon declined to comment on which particular Chicago locations were still under consideration. The company also declined to share which of its criteria were weighed most heavily in narrowing down its options.

When Amazon’s HQ2 plans were initially announced, CEO Jeff Bezos said he expects the second headquarters to be “a full equal to [its] Seattle headquarters” — a commitment the company reiterated in Thursday’s statement. Amazon will give senior leaders the option to relocate to the HQ2 location.

The company expects to make a decision sometime in 2018.

These are the locations still under consideration: Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; Northern Virginia, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; Toronto, ON; Washington D.C.

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