Chicago mayor vows to step up Amazon second headquarters bid

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago officials vowed Thursday to step up the competition to lure Amazon’s headquarters after the company named the city among the top 20 locations in the running for a facility that promises 50,000 jobs.

Amazon narrowed the list of 238 proposals from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, to 20 finalists, also including Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, in the Midwest. The Seattle-based company plans to announce the winner later this year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Chicago offers “unparalleled opportunities” with its qualified workforce, higher education institutions and quality of life.

“We are prepared to compete at the next level and the next level after that,” he said in a statement.

Chicago, which teamed up with state officials for the bid, has only released some details, touting the possibility of 10 different sites in the region. One in the city’s downtown core includes space in the Willis Tower. Two are in the suburbs.

However, officials have kept details on possible tax breaks and incentives quiet. The city denied Freedom of Information Act requests from The Associated Press, sending 82 pages of non-disclosure agreements between Chicago, its nonprofit economic development arm and companies.

The competition has been fierce among cities.

State and local governments have tried to showcase amenities they think would best lure Amazon’s second headquarters, called HQ2. Some cities pulled off stunts like Tucson, Arizona, which sent a 21-foot tall cactus to Seattle. The city didn’t make the cut.

Chicago hired actor William Shatner to narrate the city’s accompanying video pitch to get the attention of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who’s a known Trekkie and played an alien in the 2016 movie “Star Trek Beyond.”

Other finalists include tech-strong cities such as Boston, New York, Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, which was the only West Coast city on the list.