Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters in December, immediately firing up just about every city in the country (and some other countries) in an effort to lure the conglomerate.
That means every city. Gary, Indiana even submitted a bid. Gary!
In the end, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. They’re not expected to announce their bid until sometime in 2018, but at least one proposal could end up having a major sports impact.
Chicago’s bid reportedly includes a riverfront site north of downtown, near the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. And according to this Chicago Tribune piece, one of the key elements includes an Amazon-branded athletic stadium:
Sterling Bay’s proposal to bring as many as 50,000 Amazon headquarters workers to its Lincoln Yards development includes the potential for a sports and concert venue near the Chicago River.
The developer describes preliminary plans for “a world-class sports and entertainment stadium” in the materials obtained by the Tribune.
“Sterling Bay is currently engaged in active discussions with the city of Chicago, professional sports leagues and international entertainment production companies to partner on the development and operations of this venue,” Sterling Bay said in its Amazon proposal. In renderings and a video sent to Amazon, the stadium is shown along the west, or Bucktown, side of the river.
The concert side of that equation might be of more immediate interest in Chicago, although in the Midwest, outdoor concert season is at most about 8 months out of the year. Still, the Chicago Fire currently play in Bridgeview, a suburb southwest of Chicago. This site would be much closer to downtown, and the Fire’s current home, Toyota Park, doesn’t have a naming rights sponsor at the moment. (It’s still called Toyota Park, which means they’re getting free advertising.) A move might make sense, if it comes about.
Still, this is a long way off, and Chicago isn’t one of the frontrunners; Denver, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta all seem to be getting more love from early speculators. But it is an interesting example of how far some cities are willing to go to attract the development.