Chicago Named Nation’s “Top Metro” for New and Expanding Companies

For third year in a row, Chicago is recognized for having most corporate investment in the nation

Chicago ranked “Top Metro” in the United States in 2015 for corporate investment in the March issue of Site Selection magazine. For the third consecutive year, the Chicago metro area saw more new and expanding corporate facilities than any other area.  The news came the week before GE announced it is making Chicago the lead office for GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions business and bringing 160 new digital tech jobs to the area, and on the heels of Allstate and Beam Suntory announcing they are moving 850 jobs to Chicago. All join of a steady stream of companies that have recently decided to locate in the city, including ConAgra Foods, Oscar Mayer and Kraft Heinz Company. To date in 2016, companies have committed to adding more than 2,100 jobs in Chicago.

“For the third straight year, Chicago has been recognized as the number one city for corporate investment, which amounts to a continuing vote of confidence by companies in the strength of our business climate. This is translating into more jobs for Chicagoans and more economic opportunities for residents in all parts of our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago’s central location, tremendous access to transportation, unmatched talent and business friendly environment continue to attract companies of all sizes and sectors.”

Chicago will be the lead office for GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions business, where the company will create 160 new jobs focused solely on digital advancements in transportation and healthcare. Its strategic investments will make GE’s presence even stronger, with more than 2,000 employees in the area and 3,000 across the state.

“These investments are evidence of Chicago’s talent depth, innovation and growing digital ecosystem,” said GE Transportation President & CEO Jamie Miller. “Chicago’s global business community, research universities, and strong depth in the transportation sector make it an ideal location for continuing to cultivate a diverse and dynamic digital workforce.”

In consideration for the “Top Metro” ranking, World Business Chicago (WBC) submitted 322 projects from 2015, accounting for more than $3 billion in investment and 13,400 new jobs. Considered an “industry scoreboard” for the corporate relocation community, Site Selection focuses on new corporate facility projects with significant impact, including headquarters, manufacturing plants, R&D operations and logistics sites.

Major 2015 projects included: ConAgra’s relocation of its headquarters and 700 employees from Omaha to Chicago; GrubHub’s expansion to accommodate 1,000 workers at its Chicago headquarters; and Glassdoor’s new Chicago office, which will add more than 250 jobs in the city.

“Chicago’s engaged business community and committed civic leadership have created a business environment that companies near and far want to be a part of,” World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn said. “We are lucky to have such a diverse city with unmatched assets, and work hard to assure that the Chicago region is top of mind for companies making location and expansion decisions.”

“While there is debate in some circles about the economic impact of corporate headquarters, in Chicago there is no denying their power,” says Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection. “Even more undeniable are the sparks that fly among companies, higher education and cultural institutions, and the metro area’s venture capital and incubator/accelerator community, embodied in the hives of innovation that are 1871 and the Merchandise Mart.”

In order to be included, new facilities and expansions must meet at least one of three Site Selection criteria: (a) capital investment of at least $1 million, (b) create at least 20 new jobs or (c) add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area.