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Amazon (And Rahm) Shouldn't Overlook McKinley Park, Alderman Says

By Joe Ward | October 2, 2017 4:05pm
 The Central Manufacturing District facility , 1961 W. Pershing Rd., could work for Amazon's headquarters, Ald. Cardenas said.
The Central Manufacturing District facility , 1961 W. Pershing Rd., could work for Amazon's headquarters, Ald. Cardenas said.
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Provided/12th Ward Office

McKINLEY PARK — As Mayor Rahm Emanuel goes all out to lure Amazon's second headquarters to Chicago, one Southwest Side alderman is asking the mayor to consider a McKinley Park site for the online retail giant.

The Central Manufacturing District, 1961 W. Pershing Rd., would be a "prime" location for the Seattle-based company's planned second headquarters, which would employ at least 50,000 people, Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said in a statement. Amazon has put out a request for proposals from cities who'd like to host the new facility, and Emanuel has been vocal about his desire to bring the headquarters to Chicago.

Most notably, the refurbished Old Main Post Office in Downtown has been touted as a potential site for Amazon. But Cardenas said a location in a neighborhood could be more beneficial to the company and the city.

"There is no doubt that Chicago is the ideal location for Amazon to build its new home," Cardenas said in a statement. "In the quest to identify sites to entice Amazon, we are missing a golden opportunity to revitalize neighborhoods in Chicago like McKinley Park."

RELATED: Rahm Touts Chicago's 'Midwestern Work Ethic' In Push For Amazon HQ

Cardenas said the company should consider the Central Manufacturing District, a cluster of mostly vacant industrial buildings that was built in 1905. Located close to the Union Stockyards complex, there's over 800 acres available in the geographic center of the city, the alderman said.

"This area of McKinley Park exceeds all of Amazon's requirements, so why is our neighborhood being overlooked? I call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to take this opportunity to bring life to what was once the country's most important industrial corridor," Cardenas said.

"I have waited years for a formal plan to preserve this important piece of Chicago's industrial heritage," Cardenas said in the statement. "As we prepare the bid to bring Amazon home to Chicago, we must first look at our neighborhoods."

City officials have not said what sites would be included in a pitch to Amazon. The deadline for proposals is Oct. 19.

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.

Those offers must include 500,000 square feet of initial space and the ability to expand up to 8 million square feet of space over the next 10 years, according to the proposal. The site should also provide direct access to public transportation and be located within 30 miles of a population center and 45 minutes of an airport.