Rauner, Rahm sending team to Amazon’s Seattle HQ — to look, not talk

on Sep18

18 September 2017 | 8:21 pm

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are sending a team to Seattle on Tuesday as part of their efforts to persuade Amazon to bring its second headquarters — along with 50,000 jobs — to Chicago.

Mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman on Monday said the delegation will be surveying the Amazon campus “to help determine which Chicago area sites would best fit the company’s future needs,” he said in a statement. The mayor’s office, however, said the team isn’t meeting with Amazon officials during the trip.

Among those taking the trip include deputy mayors Bob Rivkin and Andrea Zopp; Deputy Governor Leslie Munger; hedge fund manager Michael Sacks; former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Farzin Parang from the governor’s economic development team; Chicago planning commissioner David Reifman; Deputy Planning Commissioner Aarti Kotak; World Business Chicago President Jeff Malehorn; and Intersect Illinois CEo Mark Peterson.

Rauner on Monday told reporters that it’s “essential” for the state and city to work together to land the massive $5 billion project.

“Amazon wants single comprehensive proposals. They don’t want separate pieces,” Rauner said after signing legislation to restart EDGE tax credits on Monday morning. “They don’t want independent bids. They want major urban areas and they only want to hear from major urban areas with major international type airports.”

The governor said the state, too, is working with St. Louis’ bid for the headquarters.

“St. Louis has some benefits that they bring in terms of their overall package,” Rauner said. “We want to make sure that Illinois is positioned to be a great benefit of that. But the home run for us, and where our real focus is, given metropolitan Chicago and given the power of O’Hare Airport, our real focus is here.”

Sites being talked about for the bid include the North Branch Industrial corridor, the old Main Post Office; the Michael Reese Hospital site; a 62-acre South Loop parcel once owned by convicted developer Tony Rezko and the McCormick Place East side that Emanuel offered to demolish in a failed attempt to keep the Lucas Museum in Chicago.

Last week, Munger told the Sun-Times she is the governor’s “point person” for the state’s Amazon efforts. She also said the governor has personally spoken to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the coveted project.

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