Mayor Rahm Emanuel toured the factory floor. “This used to be a shoe factory. It’s being reimagined, reinvented to be a place of digital advanced manufacturing; not only making money, but training – every 20 weeks – 20 more workers,” he said. The workers will include public housing residents, who will earn college credit on the job.
• a stable and business-friendly environment;
• proximity to major highways, mass transit and international airports;
• and space for up to eight million square feet for its office complex. Amazon plans to have the first phase completed in 2019, with additional space added through 2027. The mayor said Chicago has everything Amazon wants for its second headquarters, including several possible sites. “I don’t want to pick favorites about sites. That’s for them to pick. We have a multitude of sites, based on the perspective of what they want when they say Amazon in 2030,” he said. “I know, and I don’t want to speak for either the county or the state, but I can say from their staff levels, that we’re going to make sure that we have a unified public-private proposal.” Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay has said it plans to pursue the second Amazon headquarters at a massive mixed-use project it has proposed for up to 100 acres of land it has acquired along the Chicago River on the North Side, including the old Finkl steel plant. Other sites mentioned as possible homes for Amazon’s complex include the long-vacant Old Main Post Office spanning the east end of the Eisenhower Expressway, the old Michael Reese Hospital campus, and a 62-acre mixed-use development planned for a vacant stretch of the South Loop along the Chicago River.
Emanuel fired McCarthy as the city’s top cop in December 2015, a week after Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Hours after Van Dyke was charged, the city released police dashboard camera video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. The high-profile shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer sparked several days of protests across the city. Van Dyke is still awaiting trial. Three months after he was fired, McCarthy said he had “nothing to do” with the McDonald scandal. “They say, ‘Man, you got screwed, but somebody had to take the hit,’” McCarthy said. “I said, ‘You’re right’ and the person who is going to take the hit is going to be the person who committed the act and at the end of the day, police legitimacy in Chicago took an enormous hit and people are dying at record numbers right now as a result.” After he was fired, McCarthy and his wife started a private security firm. McCarthy also has criticized the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of the Chicago Police Department. The scathing report took the CPD to task for systemic violations of civil rights, finding officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, during the investigation, the feds reached out to McCarthy for his input, but he was “not available.” McCarthy called that “nonsense.” “They must be really great investigators if they can’t find the former superintendent of police who lives right here in River North,” he said. McCarthy said it’s odd that his perspective wasn’t included in the report. In fact, he says, he probably should have been the first person interviewed. Weeks before the McDonald video was released, Emanuel said he was planning to run for a third term, but his approval ratings among African-Americans plummeted in the wake of the resulting scandal. In recent months, he has become more vocal about his support for immigrants’ rights, in an apparent bid to shore up support among Hispanic voters. Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who lost to Emanuel in a runoff election in 2015, also reportedly has been mulling another run for mayor, but has yet to announce any plans.