My take on Chicago's Amazon HQ2 sites


I have been closely following Amazon’s search for a second headquarters--this is an exciting time for our city! As of right now, we are waiting for Amazon to narrow down their selection in early 2018--238 cities were hoping for consideration.

There are 10 sites in Chicago that fit Amazon’s requirements of 500,000 square feet of initial office space, and an additional 8 million square feet over a 10 year period. We also know that Amazon is looking for an affordable city, among many other factors (population, location, density, etc.).

The 10 sites are well-outlined in this recent Curbed Chicago article. My top contenders include:

Chicago Tribune River District Sites:
According to the Curbed Chicago article, “Located at the intersection of the neighborhoods of River North, River West, Goose Island, and Fulton River District, the Trib’s mega-project is a short walk from nearly all of the CTA’s major train lines and could include transportation improvements such as a new pedestrian bridge across the river and a transitway or shuttle route from Chicago’s big commuter rail stations. Despite calling for nearly two dozen structures, the plan sets aside a fair amount of open space and a riverwalk component.” To me this is the best location of the bunch.

The 78:
The public transportation options at this site would be the most diverse. “A major riverfront development opportunity also exists on the South Branch at a 62-acre parcel of vacant land controlled by developer Related Midwest. Anticipated to increase Chicago’s 77 recognized neighborhood areas by one, ‘The 78’ redevelopment plan will include a mix of residential, commercial, academic, civic, cultural, and recreational spaces master planned by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. A newly announced University of Illinois-led research facility known as the Discovery Partners Institute will help establish the site as a major public-private research hub,” according to Curbed Chicago.

Burnham Lakefront:
This site actually includes some city-owned land, so the $2.25 billion incentive package from the State of Illinois may increase if this site is chosen. According to Curbed Chicago, “This massive redevelopment opportunity for the former Michael Reese Hospital in the Bronzville neighborhood on Chicago’s Near South Side would provide Amazon with Lake Michigan views as well as to room grow. Controlled by a team consisting of Draper & Kramer, Farpoint Development, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, McLaurin Development Partners, and the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, the Burnham Lakefront plan calls for 12 million square feet of mixed-use space.

With the projected average Amazon job salary in Chicago at about $100K, we would also see a huge boom in the residential market. At that salary range, Amazon employees would be looking for $500K+ homes. I am looking forward to keeping a close eye on the developments!