Alderman, Mayor Lightfoot at odds over Chicago Amazon proposal

A Chicago alderman says he's cut a deal with Amazon to build a huge new warehouse in the South Side Pullman neighborhood that would produce hundreds of new jobs.

However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says not so fast, Amazon may not deliver.

9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale showed us the 40-acre site in the historic Pullman neighborhood, where he says Amazon plans to build a huge new warehouse.

“So it's a very massive piece of property we're looking at,” said Ald. Beale. “But right now, you see it's nothing but trees and overgrown weeds."

Beale says after a yearlong negotiation, Amazon has agreed to build a $60 million distribution facility on the site of the old Ryerson Steel factory that would create 500 construction jobs and at least 200 permanent jobs.

He says it's going to happen fast.

“We're going to be doing direct introductions into committee to get this thing done,” said Ald. Beale. “Because we don't have any time to waste. They want to be open and operational in time for the holiday season coming up this year."

However, when Mayor Lightfoot was asked about the Amazon deal, she clearly wasn't happy.

"I don't think there's anything to talk about yet,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We haven't heard anything from Amazon. So, I think Ald. Beale got a little ahead of himself."

The mayor and Ald. Beale have been feuding since she stripped the alderman of a committee chairmanship last year.

"Well I ask the mayor to get on board and watch us do what we do,” said Ald. Beale. 

Amazon isn't confirming or denying, a spokesperson telling us, "we are constantly exploring new locations and weighing a variety of factors when deciding where to develop sites to best serve customers, however, we don’t provide information on our future roadmap.”

Amazon did say that if it does build here, it won't be a fulfillment center, but a delivery station, where trucks load up to drive the packages to your home.

Ald. Beale says Amazon would get a property tax break, which he says is standard operating procedure to land projects of this size.

Organized Labor is already criticizing the Amazon proposal, and the Chicago Federation of Labor is saying billionaire businesses don't deserve tax breaks for low-paying jobs.