Chicago vying for new Amazon HQ that would employ 50,000, sources say

CHICAGO — Chicago appears to be in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters after the company announced plans to build “HQ2,” a $5 billion facility that could employ as many as 50,000 workers, somewhere in North America.

Cities and regional economic development organizations have been invited to submit proposals, and several cities have already expressed interest in the possibility of Amazon’s new headquarters coming to their turf.

Both CNN and Crain’s report “sources” close to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel say the mayor has spoken “several times” with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the second headquarters. Amazon declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the City of Chicago wouldn’t comment on whether it will submit a proposal, but gave the following statement: “Chicago’s unmatched workforce, world-class universities and unparalleled access to destinations throughout the world make it the perfect headquarters location for companies large and small. That’s also why Chicago has led the nation in corporate relocations for the last four years.”

Toronto’s Mayor John Tory said in a statement that the city is a “prime candidate” for Amazon’s second headquarters.

“We are a bold, innovative city that has plenty of homegrown tech talent. We also continue to attract talent and companies from around the world,” he said. “I will be leading the charge to make the case that Amazon should call Toronto home.”

The city’s staff is also working with investment-attraction agency Toronto Global to put together “an attractive bid” for this opportunity.

Dallas said it has already contacted Amazon to express its interest.

“We will aggressively demonstrate that Dallas and our surrounding area would be the perfect spot for their expansive business needs. Amazon already has an extensive amount of business here. They’ve been good corporate citizens and we look forward to future conversations,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement to CNN Tech.

Pittsburgh said it plans to “compete” for the new site and has already scheduled strategy sessions and started planning.

“With an unmatched portfolio of technological talent and intriguing development parcels, Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to submit a winning bid for Amazon’s facility. This is a transformational opportunity unlike any that we’ve ever seen,” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the city of Boston confirmed it is reviewing the possibility of a submission.

A spokesperson for Columbus, Ohio — which won the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge in 2016 — said it was “intrigued by the prospect” but declined to comment further.

Amazon’s announcement is also on Detroit’s radar. The city said it is evaluating the opportunity carefully.