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Will Amazon bring commercial real estate gold to Chicago?

When the retail giant Amazon announced its search for a location for its second massive headquarters, cities from all over the country began wooing the giant retailer. Chicago threw its hat into the ring, hoping to win the headquarters and all the benefits that come with it. Among those perks include the potential for revitalizing struggling areas, repurposing vacant commercial real estate and, best of all, bringing up to 50,000 employment opportunities to the chosen city.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is in search of a city that fits certain criteria. His headquarters will require some eight million square feet, and he prefers his new offices to be located in a metropolitan area with a million or more residents. There must be an airport nearby, mass transportation and room to grow. Bezos is willing to consider vacant land or land with existing buildings.

Chicago may have every quality to make it eligible. Some in the city have offered opinions for the best sites to suggest to Bezos. For example, one developer suggests the Amazon headquarters anchor his $10 billion mixed-use plan along the riverfront and incorporate the Finkl Steel plant. Another developer hopes his 49 acres on the site of the old Reese Hospital will meet with Bezos’ approval. Still others think the Old Main Post Office is perfect, with its easy access to downtown and other amenities.

While developers strive to make their commercial real estate attractive to the giant retailer, the city of Chicago hopes to reap the benefits of hosting Amazon. This may include those in the commercial and residential retail markets. Meanwhile, there may be many who find that the help of an attorney will ensure their rights are protected when undertaking a real estate transaction of any size, even if it is not of the magnitude of an Amazon purchase.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “What Chicago site might win Amazon ‘HQ2’ sweepstakes? Here are 6 . . .”, Fran Spielman, Sept. 13, 2017

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