The Real Deal Chicago

Is Chicago still in the running to win the Amazon HQ2 contest?

The company paid the city a return visit in August, though analysts say D.C. area is likely location
September 27, 2018 11:00AM

From left: Related Midwest’s Curt Bailey, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and a rendering of The 78 (Credit: Related Midwest and Getty Images)

In the latest bit of Amazon HQ2 intrigue, company officials paid a return visit last month to Chicago, and the site of Related Midwest’s proposed riverfront megadevelopment The 78. That came as the e-commerce giant nears a decision on where it will locate its second North American headquarters.

Members of Amazon’s HQ2 site selection team took another look at the site along the south branch of the Chicago River in mid-August, sources told the Chicago Tribune. The company previously toured The 78 site and four other Chicago locations in March.

Officials from the company and city declined comment on the report.

Twenty cities are still officially in the running to land the 8 million-square-foot HQ2 and the potential 50,000 jobs to go with it, with many offering to pony up huge incentives for the privilege. Many observers say the Washington, D.C., area is the likely location.

As the search stretched into its second year, CEO Jeff Bezos earlier this month said the company will make a decision by the end of the year.

Related Midwest is proposing 13 million square feet of new residential, office and hotel space — in buildings as tall as 950 feet — on the undeveloped 62-acre plot running south of Roosevelt Road along the lakefront. The name “The 78” is meant to reflect the company’s ambition to add an entire new neighborhood to the city’s 77 official communities.

The 78 would sit just south of two other massive planned riverside developments: Lendlease’s Southbank and CMK Companies’ Riverline.

In March, Amazon visited The 78 and four other Chicago sites, the Tribune reported at the time. The others were a riverfront property on the North Branch owned by Tribune Media, Sterling Bay’s proposed Lincoln Yards project on the North Branch, a number of sites owned by several landlords in Fulton Market, and the former Michael Reese Hospital site on the south lakefront that’s being redeveloped by Farpoint Development and Draper and Kramer. [Chicago Tribune] — John O’Brien