There are $20B in megadevelopments in Chicago’s construction pipeline. At least 10 of these projects are valued at $1B or more, the most notable examples being Vista Tower, the redevelopment of Union Station, the Old Main Post Office redevelopment and the ongoing Willis Tower renovations. But fluctuations in the capital markets, the probability of steady interest rate hikes and the impact of Trump administration policies such as steel and aluminum tariffs on construction could slow the pace of a real estate recovery entering its seventh year. Landing Amazon HQ2 would be the best answer for redeveloping any of the sites in Chicago’s bid, especially since Amazon wants to break ground on its second headquarters next year.
But while the developers controlling any of these sites would love to land Amazon HQ2, none of them are all-in on Amazon — they were already working on developing these mega-sites in phases, in some cases over a period of decades. Related Midwest estimates it will spend $5B over a 20-year period to develop The 78, its 62-acre site connecting the South Loop and Chinatown. At The Post Office, another Amazon HQ2 site, The Telos Group President Brian Whiting said it will not break any lease agreements with tenants it signs to the 2.8M SF redevelopment if Chicago wins the bid.
“No one is hanging the success of these sites on landing Amazon,” Interra Realty Managing Principal, Jon Morgan said.
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