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Rahm To Amazon: Pick Chicago For Your New Headquarters

By Heather Cherone | September 7, 2017 11:45am
 Amazon plans to build a second headquarters outside of its Seattle hometown.
Amazon plans to build a second headquarters outside of its Seattle hometown.
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CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is lobbying Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to build the tech giant’s second home in Chicago, city officials said Thursday.

In a statement, Amazon officials they plan to build a $5 billion second headquarters in a North American metropolitan area with at least 1 million residents and employ at least 50,000 people.

The new headquarters will "be a full equal" to Amazon's Seattle base, Bezos said. "We're excited to find a second home."

Emanuel has had several conversations with Bezos about why he should pick Chicago, said mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman.

"Chicago's unmatched workforce, world-class universities and unparalleled access to destinations throughout the world make it the perfect headquarters location for companies large and small," Klinzman said

In July, Emanuel toured Amazon's office in the Loop, pointing to its expansion as evidence that Chicago is thriving under his watch. The additional space will allow the tech giant's Chicago 200-employee workforce to double, officials said at the time.

Amazon plans to staff 8,000 full-time jobs in Illinois by 2018, officials said.

Emanuel frequently has touted Chicago's status as the No. 1 city in the country for corporate relocations for the fourth year in a row, as determined by Site Selection magazine.

An eight-page request for proposals posted online said the firm expects to be offered incentives to offset building and operating costs. Those incentives "will be significant factors in the decision-making process," according to the proposal.

Amazon will also favor a city with a "highly educated workforce and a stable and business-friendly environment," according to the proposal, which also asks for at least 500,000 square feet of space in an existing building, with the possibility of expanding to include 8 million square feet.

Plans for a newly constructed headquarters should be on parcels of at least 100 acres, according to the proposal.

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 19, and company officials said they expect to make a decision next year, and start construction in 2019.

"We encourage cities to think big and be creative," the company said.

In 2001, Chicago lured aerospace giant Boeing from Seattle with tax breaks worth about $60 million.