March 2, 2023

Illinois rises to #2 state for corporate expansion projects

Whether it’s electric vehicles or energy bars, chocolate treats or commercial roofing, businesses are expanding and thriving in Illinois: the state ranks second in the nation for corporate expansion and relocation projects, climbing one spot from last year, according to Site Selection magazine.

Favored because of its central location, world-class infrastructure, abundant sustainable energy, highly educated workforce, and variety of world-leading businesses in manufacturing, technology, transportation, and other sectors, Illinois drew 487 projects in 2022, the magazine said.

Chicago skylineIn addition, Chicago was crowned the top metro area for corporate investment for the 10th year in a row. The city’s reputation as a global economic powerhouse was underscored by high-profile corporate commitments, such as Google’s purchase of the historic Thompson Center as the site of its expanding regional hub, and Kellogg’s new headquarters for its snack division.

“Illinois’ performance improved in both categories of project counts this year – from third place to second in total projects and from seventh to fourth in projects per capita,” says Mark Arend, editor-in-chief of Site Selection. “This will signal to readers that Illinois is an attractive and effective location for establishing and expanding operations.”

Investing for the future

Illinois, home to the 5th largest economy in the country, has been busy honing its competitive edge through new incentives and forward-thinking investments in infrastructure, energy, and workforce. For example, the state recently launched a $400 million closing fund to attract large businesses, expanded incentives for the clean energy industry, and made it easier for companies to apply for EDGE – the state’s primary incentive program. The state also announced $40 million in grants to supercharge the development of megasites — large, occupant-ready sites that are ideal for manufacturers, distribution centers, industrial centers, and more.

Amid the ongoing scramble for skilled talent, Illinois – which Site Selection also recently named the top state in the Midwest for workforce development — has launched a number of innovative training programs.  These include EV manufacturing training academies, pre-apprenticeship programs, and earmarking nearly $180 million a year for clean energy jobs training and community support efforts under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).

“Site Selection’s ranking of top states for business attraction validates that we are on the right track,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “Illinois has the talent, infrastructure, central location, and some of the most competitive tools needed to attract major job creators to the state and companies are noticing.”

Notable projects, from EVs to chocolate

Site Selection’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” To qualify, projects must meet one or more of these criteria: investment of at least $1 million, creation of 20 or more new jobs, or the addition of 20,000 sq. ft. of new space.

Some notable projects announced in Illinois last year include a $214 million chocolate processing expansion by global confection company Ferrero, an $80 million manufacturing plant by GAF Commercial Roofing, T/CCI’s $20 million retooling of a facility to make EV components, and a $180 million expansion by Tyson Foods of a snacking and breakfast plant.

To learn more about how Illinois can help your business grow, reach out to us here.

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