From the President's Desk: Amazon HQ2
In a $600 billion regional economy, it’s tough to view any one piece of economic development as a proverbial “game-changer” for Chicago. Our economy is so large and diverse, even “big news” makes ripples not waves. But working out a deal to have Chicagoland Chamber member, Amazon, build its second headquarters here would truly be a game-changer.
Amazon is looking to invest more than $5 billion in construction (its Seattle campus has 33 buildings totaling 8.1 million square feet) and to create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
That number is staggering: 50,000 high-paying jobs with annual compensation of more than $100,000.
To say nothing of the numerous jobs and small businesses an employer like Amazon will support directly and indirectly.In a region with more than 400 corporate headquarters, including 34 in the Fortune 500, that number would make Amazon our largest employer, by far.
The positive economic waves created by an Amazon HQ2 in Chicago could be the most compelling part of this. In Seattle, each dollar Amazon invested is estimated to have generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the local economy.
In addition, Amazon’s site search is putting a spotlight on Chicago across the world to what a remarkable place Chicago and Chicagoland are for business because of our economic and physical infrastructure. The official RFP Amazon put out includes a long list of criteria that a city like Chicago meets. Here are the key criteria:
- Metropolitan area with more than one-million people
- Locations with potential to attract/retain strong technical talent
- Excellent institutions of higher education
- A diverse population
- Communities that think big and creatively about locations and real estate
- On-site access to mass transit
- A commute of 45 minutes or less to an international airport
- No more than two miles from a major highway or arterial road
- Stable and business-friendly environment
- Local government structure and elected officials eager and willing to work with the company
- A community where employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality of life
The Chicagoland Chamber applauds and strongly supports the work of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner, and Jeff Malehorn of World Business Chicago, the economic development arm of the City, in their joint efforts to bring Amazon here. The Chicagoland Chamber looks forward to supporting these efforts in every way possible.
Michael L. Reever, Esq.
Acting President & CEO Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce