In breaking, but not shocking, news, Chicago plans to apply for Amazon’s newly announced second headquarters.
The City of Chicago will submit a proposal to be the home for Amazon’s “HQ2,” Grant Klinzman, economic development secretary for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, confirmed to Chicago Inno.
Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to build a second North American headquarters that will be a “full equal” to its current campus in Seattle. Cities have until October 19 to apply, with the site selection scheduled to be announced in 2018.
Amazon said it expects to invest over $5 billion in construction of the new facility, which will result in 50,000 “high-paying jobs.”
Amazon added that its investments in its hometown city of Seattle resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy from 2010 to 2016.
It’s not a surprise that Chicago would vie for Amazon’s new headquarters. The city, through World Business Chicago—the city’s public/private economic development unit—has aggressively sought corporate relocations. Earlier this year Chicago was named the top city in the U.S. for corporate relocations for the fourth year in a row, as the Chicago metro area saw more new and expanding corporate locations than any area in the country.
And Chicago has a history of attracting corporate relocations from Seattle. Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, though a majority of Boeing jobs remain in Seattle.
“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 an email. “That’s also why Chicago has led the nation in corporate relocations for the last four years.”
Amazon knows Chicago and the state of Illinois well. The online retail giant has office space in Chicago and several warehouses in the suburbs.
A major Amazon presence would certainly be a boon for Chicago’s tech and startup community, which has been growing steadily in recent years but lacks some of the “pillar” companies (like Amazon in Seattle and Dell in Austin) that hire techies by the thousands. Landing Amazon’s second headquarters could prove to be transformational for the city’s tech ecosystem.