Chicago, Rauner go shopping for Amazon's new headquarters
Chicago's broad shoulders are ideal for carrying Amazon's new headquarters, Gov. Bruce Rauner said recently, according to a press release.
“Amazon represents an extraordinary opportunity for Illinois to grow jobs, attract new residents and build our tax base,” Rauner said. "Our bid makes a powerful business case, linking our advantages in innovation, commerce, and R&D with Amazon's aspirations for growth and talent recruitment."
Amazon announced in September that it will build a second national headquarters to function alongside its original home in Seattle. Rauner and Chicago immediately began to put together a bid, highlighting the city's transportation network, diverse economy, quality of life, airport access and talent pool. Rauner is banking on his existing relationship with Amazon, having worked with the company to bring thousands of jobs to Illinois during his time as governor.
"Chicago offers unparalleled potential for future growth for businesses of all sizes and is the ideal place for Amazon," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the statement.
They also formed a committee of 600 people from all walks of life in Chicago to assist with the bid, which they submitted well before Amazon's Oct. 19 deadline.
A study by World Business Chicago indicated that the headquarters will generate $341 billion in total spending in its first 17 years. It would also bring approximately 37,500 new jobs in the area outside of Amazon's direct impact, translating to $71 billion in new wages and salaries. Construction alone is projected to generate $7.4 billion, creating 3,500 jobs a year.
With Amazon promising to spend $5 billion on construction and an average wage of more than $100,000 for each of 50,000 jobs, the immediate economic impact is estimated to reach more than $10 billion. Put another way, for every dollar that Amazon spends on its new location HQ, it's estimated that $2.72 would be generated for the economy.
"Our bid makes a powerful business case, linking our advantages in innovation, commerce, and R&D with Amazon's aspirations for growth and talent recruitment," Rauner said.
While major corporations in the United States are expanding their business operations, none is quite to the scale of what Amazon is planning to do. Walmart, one of Amazon's primary rivals, is planning to add about 17,000 employees to its existing Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters. Technology company Apple is moving 12,000 of its employees to a new circular location in Cupertino, California. Neither company, though, is building a completely new headquarters and adding the number of new employees Amazon is, which has major metro areas in the United States and Canada scrambling to score the new location.
The Everest research group recently told Fortune magazine that Chicago is among the most likely cities to be selected, along with Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, New York and Washington. It's believed that no metro area with a population under 4 million would have the necessary basic infrastructure and number of skilled employees necessary to support Amazon's plans.
Amazon has not yet released a decision date for its new location.