Schaumburg, Oak Brook the only suburban sites in state's Amazon pitch

Two suburban sites are among 10 locations Illinois is pitching to Amazon for the online retail giant's second national headquarters.

Schaumburg's longtime Motorola Solutions campus and the McDonald's campus in Oak Brook are listed, along with eight sites in Chicago, according to a news release issued Friday.

"The proposed sites would allow Amazon to be at the very center of a vibrant downtown core, or in an innovative urban district in one of Chicago's neighborhoods, or in a campuslike environment in our suburbs," according to the release issued jointly by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Not on the list are Aurora, Naperville, Hoffman Estates and West Chicago, which also had expressed interest in being part of the state's bid. No explanation was given on why those pitches weren't included.

Seattle-based Amazon announced weeks ago it would like to expand into a second headquarters, leading economic developers across the nation to frantically begin courting the company. The second headquarters would bring with it about 50,000 jobs, company officials said.

Amazon officials said they planned to spend more than $5 billion on its second headquarters, but most bids were expected to include significant tax breaks. It's not clear what types of incentives the state is offering Amazon in its bid.

In Schaumburg, the bid notes the Zurich and Motorola Solutions corporate campuses already in existence and explains much of the 265-acre site being offered to Amazon would be transformed into "an urban, walkable neighborhood. Additional development would include high-rise housing, restaurants, entertainment venues, a hotel and connected open space with trails."

Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said if Amazon expresses interest in Illinois' proposal, Schaumburg would be willing to make adjustments to the redevelopment plans it's working on for the former Motorola Solutions campus at the southwest corner of Algonquin and Meacham roads. But until that happens, the village and a developer will continue moving forward with its current plans, Townsend said.

Chicago-based UrbanStreet Group owns 225 acres of the 322-acre former Motorola campus. It's working with village officials on a mixed-use proposal of office, retail and residential buildings.

Though Zurich North America and Motorola Solutions already have buildings on the former campus, village consultants say the existing office space represents only about a third of the 3.3-million-square-foot capacity of the property.

A new road through the site is expected to be built during 2018, ensuring any other new development there won't leapfrog Amazon's decision, Townsend said.

The Oak Brook site is touted for its existing infrastructure and natural aesthetic. McDonald's is planning to move its headquarters out of the site and into Chicago within the next year, village officials said. The property encompasses 100 acres and has tollway visibility for a potential Amazon move.

Village Trustee John Baar said it's "serendipitous" that the site that has housed McDonald's for decades is available while Amazon is looking for a second headquarters.

"With our access to both airports, downtown, and having some of the best schools in the state for the executives that might live here, it's a great fit," Baar said. "We're tremendously excited to be part of this mission to land Amazon."

Chicago's proposals include two in the Loop, including Willis Tower, the long vacant Old Post Office and Union Station. Others are Fulton Market, the West Side medical district, a lakefront site between McCormick Place and 31st Street, a downtown area dubbed "The 78" in the proposal, a 70-acre riverfront site between Bucktown and Lincoln Park, and "The River District," along the river and Halsted Street northwest of downtown.

The Republican Rauner and Democratic Emanuel made the joint announcement because Amazon officials stipulated they were accepting only one bid from each state. No sites outside the Chicago area were included.

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  The Motorola Solutions property along Algonquin Road in Schaumburg is among 10 sites Illinois is pitching for Amazon's new headquarters. Mark Welsh/
McDonald's Plaza is part of the company's Oak Brook campus, a site Illinois is pitching for Amazon's new headquarters.
DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTOMcDonald's will move its headquarters from Oak Brook to Chicago in 2018, and Illinois is pitching the campus as a potential home for Amazon.
  The Motorola Solutions property along Algonquin Road in Schaumburg is among 10 sites Illinois is pitching for Amazon's new headquarters. Mark Welsh/
Artist's rendering of a possible Amazon site in Oak Brook. Courtesy of city of Chicago
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