US Cities Battle it Out Amidst Amazon HQ2 Speculation

Officials from Chicago and Illinois have reportedly reached out to Amazon in a bid to sway the company’s Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos to ditch his plans for a HQ2 in New York, and instead, bring its 25,000-job campus to Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the city’s Governor, J.B. Pritzker made a “full-throated pitch” to Amazon, quoting sources from the Governor’s own administration.

In a statement, Jennifer Martinez, a spokesperson for Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel also said the city is actively working to recruit companies that can provide locals with further employment opportunities.

“Our tech sector is growing quickly. Chicago has a lot to offer and Mayor Emanuel will continue to recruit companies to Chicago until his last day in City Hall, and probably long after that,” she said.

Chicago’s renewed interest in Amazon’s HQ2 comes after The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos himself, reported last week that Amazon is facing mounting opposition from local politicians and citizens in New York, which is causing his Seattle-based business to re-think its HQ2 decision.

Protestors in NYC fighting against Amazon’s pending HQ2.

In November last year, the business announced it would be splitting its second headquarters between two key locations – New York’s Long Island City and Northern Virginia. At the time, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York praised Amazon’s decision to open its headquarters in Queens, welcoming the expected incremental tax revenue of $10 billion over the next 20 years.

“New York can proudly say that we have attracted one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history,” he said.

“With an average salary of $150,000 per year for the tens of thousands of new jobs Amazon is creating in Queens, economic opportunity and investment will flourish for the entire region.

Since then, Amazon has faced growing backlash over the decision, with two officials telling the Post that critics could potentially “vito” the deal. Among those rallying against the online marketplace/tech giant is freshman US Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez, whose district borders the proposed Amazon site.

So far, no concrete plans have been put in place to lock in Amazon’s proposed second headquarters. Two people close to the matter said that no leases or purchases for office space have been made. Further delays are expected as activists ramp up their objections.

Reports have also surfaced claiming Tennessee is also interested in luring Amazon, should the business abandon its New York plans.

Chicago and Tennessee were originally among 20 finalists vying for the headquarters.

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