The WISCH LIST
The City of Big Shoulders remains The City of Big Aspirations. But in recent years, Chicago has more often been The City of Big Losers when it comes to actually making those aspirations a reality,
It lost its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. It lost its funding to build the 2,000-foot Chicago Spire. And it lost its bid to become home to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. But, thankfully, Chicago hasn’t yet lost its nerve. And here’s to hoping that when it comes to luring e-commerce giant Amazon to town, Chicago still has some big ideas up its sleeve.
Because the Windy City is due for a big win.
Earlier this month, Amazon sent politicians, real estate brokers, urban developers and job seekers across North America into a tizzy of excitement when it announced plans to spend $5 billion to build a second headquarters – dubbed “HQ2” – that will be fully equal to its Seattle home base and could create 50,000 new jobs.
For a city and state in dire need of such an economic shot in the arm, the reasons for Chicago to pursue Amazon are obvious. And despite Illinois’ rocky political and financial climate, there are plenty of reasons for Amazon to choose Chicago. Its requirements include 8 million square feet of space (check) in a metropolitan area of at least a million people (check) within 45 minutes of an international airport (check), accessible to mass transit (check) and close to major highways (check).
Amazon also wants a “stable and business-friendly environment,” which will require some serious spit shining from civic leaders before bids are due Oct. 19. But, hey, that’s where those big ideas come into play.