Rahm courting Amazon for move to Chicago

Rahm courting Amazon for move to Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly spoke with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is encouraging Amazon to come to Chicago after news surfaced that the retail giant is looking to establish a second headquarters. Dubbed “HQ2,” the new location will bring with it up to 50,000 jobs; Amazon plans to spend up to $5 billion on its new facilities, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Crain’s reported that Emanuel has spoken with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the possibility of HQ2 coming to Chicago.

The Seattle-based company is no stranger to Illinois or Chicago. Amazon has at least eight fulfillment centers in various stages of planning and building, and has inked at least three separate tax credit deals with Illinois under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program. Amazon also has an office in downtown Chicago that has around 200 employees.

Amazon has also struck local property tax deals, such as the $400,000 property tax abatement agreement it entered with Aurora in 2016.

While EDGE expired in April 2017, a bill to bring back the controversial program has passed the General Assembly. However, lawmakers have yet to send the bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.

Since 2001, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has issued more than $1.4 billion in tax credit certificates in EDGE deals with hundreds of companies, though Illinois’ rate of jobs growth is still slower than the national average as well as every one of its neighboring states.

It’s too early to tell whether Emanuel will be able to lure HQ2 to the Windy City, or if Chicago is even a serious contender, but it is clear an effort is underway.

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