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Proposed Amazon River Campus in East St. Louis
(Image courtesy of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)

‘River Campus’ plan misses cut for Amazon HQ2

A multi-site proposal from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP) – which included a multiple-building “River Campus” complex in East St. Louis – is not among 20 being seriously considered by Amazon for its proposed second headquarters (HQ2), a Jan. 17 statement from the online retail giant indicates.

Still under considered are sites in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, OH, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County in Maryland, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto and Washington D.C., the company said.

The STLDP proposed a massive 200-acre HQ2 complex with three major components, spanning the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Metro East, according to the proposal.

The recently vacated AT&T Center – renamed the “Amazon Tower” — would have been the centerpiece of a “Central Business District” campus encompassing roughly a dozen buildings in Downtown St. Louis, under terms of the STLDP proposal.

On the nearby banks of the Mississippi River, a River Campus – divided into a “Mark Twain” business park on the Missouri side and a “Lincoln” business park in East St. Louis, would have provided roughly 30 to 40 addition buildings for Amazon staff, depending on the exact configuration desired by the company. The two sections would have been connected by a new “river tram” across the Mississippi, according to the proposal.

The proposal also called for development of a dedicated Amazon Conference and Welcome Center — a 215,000-square-foot, “world-class” conference center — at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis County.

The Lincoln section of the River Campus would have been home to roughly as many as 17 new buildings, according to various depictions provided by the STLDP.

The River Campus would have also helped meet a green space requirement in Amazon’ request for proposals.

The St. Louis bid offered Amazon a total of $7.1 billion in incentives; with a total $5.473 billion coming from the Missouri side of the region and $1.627 from the Illinois side.

Incentives from Show Me State entities would have included $2.4 billion from the State of Missouri, $1.15 billion from the City of St. Louis, $56.5 million from St. Louis County, The City of St. Louis would have also provided $1.3 billion in land and buildings free or at reduced cost.

Across the river, $927 million would have come from the State of Illinois and $700 million from St. Clair County.  The Illinois state contribution would come from existing economic development programs and would not require legislative approval, the proposal notes.

However, the actual amount of incentives on either side of the river would ultimately depend on exactly how much of the proposed $5 billion HQ2 campus – and how many of the campus’ up to 50,000 jobs – were in Missouri or Illinois.

The $1.627 billion in incentives proposed from Illinois was based on the premise that 100 percent of the Amazon complex would be in that state, the proposal acknowledges.

The proposal, signed by St. Clair County Board Mark Kern and five other St. Louis area political and business leaders, represents the first attempt by leaders on the Missouri and Illinois sides of the St. Louis area to jointly pursue an economic development initiative, according to the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Chief Executive Officer Sheila Sweeney.

She called the effort to attract Amazon a “template” for the joint economic development initiatives across the region, including a possible bid to attract a new Apple corporate complex, announced last week.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is a joint initiative of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The partnership released its 312-page Amazon proposal to the public last week. Officials had previously declined to release details of the document, citing a confidentiality requirement in Amazon’s request for proposals. Amazon Conference and Welcome Center, a 215,000-square-foot, world-class conference center

The St. Louis area’s proposal for the Amazon complex included a letter of support from East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks, who termed it “an exciting opportunity” for her city.

The proposal also outlines additional sites for the Amazon HQ2 that have been put forward by Collinsville, Edwardsville, O’Fallon, Pontoon Beach, and other St. Louis-area communities.

The St. Louis proposal was one of 238 submitted to Amazon after the retailer announced plans for a second headquarters in September of last year, according to Quartz, an online business publication (

The Wood River Aquatics Center closed

The Wood River Aquatics Center will not open for the 2018 season and will likely remained closed permanently, city officials say.

The Wood Rover City Council voted unanimously not to open the pool this year, citing cost estimates for pump room electrical panels updates, repairs to a filtration system, federally mandated drain replacement, and other needed improvements. The council is considering a referendum on funding for a new pool.

Murphysboro bans consensual fighting

The Murphysboro City Council has closed an ordinance loophole that council members feared could have inadvertently allowed fistfights or even dueling in the town.  The action came after a local man cited the city’s 1999 “Fighting by Agreement” ordinance in his defense against an assault charge. Although designed to prohibit fisticuffs in Murphysboro, the wording of the ordinance actually barred fights only in the absence of a written or verbal agreement the combatants, he noted. New revisions to the town ordinances now make any agreement, verbal or written, to fight someone illegal.


–Metro East News Briefs–