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Does Walgreens post office move mean the end of HQ2 bid?

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* The Old Post Office was, perhaps, the most recognizable and memorable part of Chicago’s HQ2 proposal, but it reportedly did not stick as well with Amazon representatives, who toured five other locations when they came to town.

So when Walgreens formally announced earlier this week it was moving nearly 1,300 jobs from its suburban Deerfield campus to the long-abandoned structure, the question of whether this signaled the end of Chicago’s hope for landing HQ2 was sure to come up…

“We have a very deep pipeline of interested tenants but someone had to be the first,” said Brian Whiting, founder and president of the Telos Group, which is representing 601W in leasing the building.

“It gives us momentum and it gives us credibility, and we are confident that we will be announcing additional commitments in the very near future,” Whiting said in an email.

Walgreens and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday discussed details of the deal and unveiled renderings of the planned space in a news conference in the historic building’s lobby. The Tribune last week reported Walgreens’ plans to move into the building, and the company later confirmed plans to move 1,800 corporate employees there — 500 from a Loop office in the Sullivan Center and 1,300 from the company’s north suburban campus.

“We’re comfortable that we’re not going to be the only tenant here (in the Old Post Office),” said Joe Brady, vice president of real estate at Walgreens. “Frankly, we’re proud to be a catalyst to help this project go even faster.”

Is Amazon one of those tenants in the pipeline?

“We’ve been plowing forward with different tenants, so I think at this point—we’re going a different direction,” Whiting said. “We’re not waiting for them, and we’re on to the next and best thing.”


The mayor is trying to play things close to his vest so as not to anger Amazon as he and mayors across the U.S. wait for the company to conclude its lengthy, secretive process to decide where to locate its second headquarters and as many as 50,000 employees.

But asked Monday whether Walgreens’ decision to locate 1,800 employees at the old post office in the South Loop takes that building off the table for Amazon, Emanuel offered some insights.

“I don’t want to violate anything with Amazon, so I think when you — know this, let me do it this way so I’m not (violating), I want to be careful,” Emanuel said. “On our original proposal to Amazon we had 10 sites. When they came, they saw five sites. It is our understanding they like, really like, two sites. So let me say that.”

* Meanwhile, the love for the Foxconn deal just keeps on coming…

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said she is concerned that they haven’t seen any sort of stormwater management plan for the project, which is set to break ground later this month.

Kovarik said the project will turn hundreds or thousands of acres of farmland into impermeable surface that if not properly managed could increase the amount of rain that runs down the Des Plaines River.

“When that water comes out of Wisconsin, we’re the first community it really hits,” Kovarik said. “We’re built right on the river. We have major arteries that get shut down from flooding.”

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   10 Comments      

*** UPDATED 1x - Pritzker buys $1M in FB ads *** Gov campaigns, Illinois Congressionals respond to border policy

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor and Hannah Meisel

* The President is scheduled to meet with Congressional Republicans later today as public pressure mounts to end the Dept. of Homeland Security’s policy of separating migrant children from their families.

The Governor’s Office is responding to requests for comment on whether Rauner supports the policy or not with this statement…

“Governor Rauner does not support this policy. He believes we need to secure our border and end illegal immigration,” spokeswoman Rachel Bold said. “But separating children from their parents is bad policy and heartbreaking. We can and should do better as a nation.”

In April, Rauner had said he would send Illinois National Guard troops to the border, if asked. The governor’s office did not respond to a question if Rauner would follow Baker in reversing that decision.

*** UPDATE 1 *** - The Pritzker campaign has launched a $1 million Facebook ad buy providing people the means to call Gov. Rauner’s office and encouraging him to rescind his position of sending National Guard troops if they are called upon. Per Natasha Korecki…

The social media campaign allows readers to call Rauner’s office to complain with one click.

“Months ago, this governor offered the Illinois National Guard to this racist, bigoted president and now refuses to call on Trump to end this horrific policy,” Pritzker said in a statement. “By not rescinding his offer, Rauner is helping Trump enforce a policy that goes against the same values our nation was founded on. He’s carrying on in complicit silence while Trump forces families to live in fear.”

The two Facebook posts are here and here. Here is some background per NPR in April on using the National Guard for border patrol and what powers the governors have when the President federalizes those troops.

Pritzker shared his views Monday morning in a post on Medium, which ran as a Sun-Times column today…

It is the responsibility of every single one of us now — descendants of immigrants and keepers of American values — to speak out. That includes the governor of our state. I’m calling on Bruce Rauner to stand with bipartisan leaders in Illinois to fight against this horrific policy. This is a time for leadership and a moment for all of us who seek to serve the public to truly serve.

The world is watching and history is being written. It isn’t often that we are faced with absolute rights and wrongs, and this is an absolute wrong that goes to the heart of who we are as Americans.

We must come together. We must act.

While the Democratic challenger has made a point of naming the President in his criticisms…

Rauner is not pointing fingers at anyone.

His office on Monday would only say that Rauner wants to end illegal immigration but doesn’t support the controversial policy.

Asked by the Sun-Times whether Rauner believes the policy is in place because of the Trump administration, or Democrats, as Trump has suggested, the governor’s office did not respond.

Meanwhile, the Daily Herald caught up with two Illinois Congressional Republicans…

As President Donald Trump defended new procedures at the southern border, Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton said the administration needs “to reverse course immediately.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano said he is “troubled by the situation at the border” and that he would support legislation to remedy it.

Roskam hopes Republican legislation that includes increased border security and a compromise on students brought into the U.S. illegally when they were children will also keep migrant families together.

“There’s an urgency to make sure this happens, either by the administration, and if doesn’t happen by the administration, then it happens by a change in the law,” Roskam said.

A Hultgren aide said the congressman would look closely at whatever legislation comes to the House floor but wants to see it first before deciding.

…Adding…Rodney Davis also addressed the issue yesterday…

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, during a stop in Decatur Monday, said the Department of Homeland Security should “absolutely not” be separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“That is going to be part of one of the bills that we are going to debate and hopefully vote on this week. The president is going to speak with the House tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing from him which solution (is) going to get the votes to pass.”

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   30 Comments      


Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* We’re still posting updates throughout the day in the ScribbleLive feed. Follow along

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   Comment      

*** UPDATED 1x - Pritzker hits back *** Rauner goes statewide with “Porcelain Prince” ad buy

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

The Rauner campaign has a new ad hitting the airwaves today, dubbed “Porcelain Prince,” hitting JB Pritzker on the disconnection of toilets in a Gold Coast mansion Prizker owns, which were the basis of a claim to Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios that the home was uninhabitable. The move led to an estimated $230,000 in property tax savings, as the Sun-Times found last spring.

We’re told it’s a seven-figure ad buy on broadcast, cable and digital. The 30-second ad opens with a shot of a toilet with a crown on its seat under a portrait of Pritzker. A narrator tells the abbreviated version of the story over shots of men taking out toilets from a mansion. The ad ends with a man in a suit sitting on a toilet, reading a newspaper on the lawn, surrounded by toilets.

Full script:

Chicago’s Porcelain Prince of tax avoidance: JB Pritzker.
Pritkzer spent millions on his second Gold Coast mansion, then took out the toilets.
To dodge hundreds of thousands of property taxes, Pritzker removed every single toilet from his multi-million dollar second home and claimed it as uninhabitable.
A royal flush of tax avoidance.
Porcelain Prince JB Pritkzer: Lower taxes for him, higher taxes for you.

Notable that it’s a totally separate issue from months’ worth of recent ads tying Pritzker to Blagojevich. Another place the Rauner campaign uses the toilet issue? On its 404 error page, which I discovered while trying to access a 2014 document last month.

*** 10:27 a.m. (by Barton) ***It’s almost like the Pritzker camp expected this line of attack.

Pritzker is up with an ad that hits Rauner for having nine homes, filing his own property tax appeals, and then claims the Governor wants to raise property taxes. It does not address the uninhabitable declaration in the Rauner spot. Have a look…

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   59 Comments      

* Does Walgreens post office move mean the end of HQ2 bid?
* *** UPDATED 1x - Pritzker buys $1M in FB ads *** Gov campaigns, Illinois Congressionals respond to border policy
* *** UPDATED 1x - Pritzker hits back *** Rauner goes statewide with “Porcelain Prince” ad buy
* Yesterday's stories

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