Friday, September 8, 2017

Could Amazon "HQ2" Be Delivered to South Loop?

Despite all of the scary weather and political news happening, it seemed like everywhere we looked yesterday we saw articles about Amazon's RFP to cities seeking info on a second HQ.

May Jeff Bezos have his sights set on Chi?
Naturally, everyone across the country is salivating about the business opportunities this poses for their respective interests.

It's not surprising that Chicago is going to aggressively bid on this (via Sun Times):
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pitching Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about building the company’s second North American headquarters in Chicago amid speculation that the e-commerce giant may be eyeing the North Branch industrial corridor.
Competition for the $5 billion prize and as many as 50,000 jobs is certain to be intense. But Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff with a national reputation, is hoping he has the clout to bring the bonanza home.

Mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman disclosed Thursday that Emanuel has had several conversations with Bezos about choosing Chicago for a project the company has described as a “full equal” to its sprawling Seattle headquarters.

While a lot of dominoes have to fall for this to eventually happen, you would have to think Chicago has a decent shot given a multitude of variables (international airport, central location, educated workforce, to name a few).

The local media is already thinking where a massive Amazon headquarters could land in Chicago and it seems like the Sloop has numerous spots that could be attractive.

The first that seems most poetic would be the Old Post Office (via Crains):
A poster child for stalled redevelopment, the hulking structure straddling the Eisenhower Expressway is undergoing a $500 million rehab at the direction of developer 601W. The existing building is 2.6 million square feet, and 601W has zoning to add another 5 million. It has high visibility and is right next to Union Station. "The Post Office can handle their whole requirement," said Telos Group President Brian Whiting, who is overseeing leasing of the building. One hurdle to clear could be the cost and logistical challenge of building over a major highway.
Related Midwest 62-Acre Lot South of Roosevelt
Another interesting opportunity would be the 62-Acre undeveloped Related Midwest property just south of Roosevelt between the river and Clark (via Crains):
The vacant 62-acre piece stretching a half-mile south from Roosevelt Road along the Chicago River has plenty of room for a corporate campus. Developer Related Midwest has envisioned a mixed-use development, but has not submitted any plans with the city. The site is one of the largest empty tracts in Chicago and is surrounded by transportation options.
Another spot that seems logical would be the Michael Reese campus that was bought by the city for the failed 2016 Olympic Bid.  It seems like that would be a boon for the South Side as well as a engine to help revitalize the area around McCormick Place and Motor Row (which we know the city is VERY focused on).

So....let's see where this ends up.  Could be another game changer for the South Loop if it happens.

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