Transformative deal expands Google’s Chicago presence
Google is buying the iconic James R. Thompson Center in the heart of Chicago, deepening its ties to the state of Illinois and underscoring the city’s prominence as a tech leader. By investing in Chicago, Google is committing to growing its long-term presence in the city, where it currently employs 1,800 people. Once owned by the State of Illinois, the Thompson Center previously housed many State offices.
“This transformative agreement will save our taxpayers nearly a billion dollars over the next thirty years – and further Chicago’s reputation as one of the great tech hubs not just of the United States, but of the world,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “If you want to grow your tech company, look no further than the Windy City.”
This deal emphasizes Chicago’s position as a global tech hub. With everything from scrappy startups, to global leaders such as Salesforce, Meta and Amazon bringing their operations and jobs to Chicago, the city has become one of the nation’s top tech centers. Tech companies in the city more than doubled their profits from 2020 to 2021, and more than 60 companies have expanded in 2022 alone.
“The Thompson Center gives us a presence in the central business district, enabling us to get in on the ground floor of revitalizing the Loop with its unparalleled access to public transit, which is so important to today’s hybrid workforce,” said Karen Sauder, President of Global Clients and Agency Solutions and Site Lead of Google in Chicago. “This will help our business, our product development and create a great environment for our employees. We’re proud to continue being an active part of Chicago’s diverse and vibrant community.”
The James R. Thompson Center is the only place in Chicago where all six L train lines connect, serving as the intersection between the city’s North, South, and West sides. Since long before the State put the building up for sale in 2019, historians, architecture enthusiasts and activists alike have argued for the building’s preservation. In need of substantial renovations, the building was listed as one of the most endangered places in Chicago, but it wasn’t old enough to earn the “landmark” status.
Three years later, the building’s future has been decided with a boost from one of the world’s pre-eminent technology companies. In 2020, Google’s employees in Chicago supported over 4,600 indirect jobs in Illinois, for a total economic impact of $2 billion. Once renovated to a Class A environmentally friendly office building, Google intends to begin occupying the Thompson Center in 2026.
Illinois job market booms: Jobs increase in all 14 metro areas
The Illinois economy is showing continued strength as the new data reveals that jobs increased year-over-year in all of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas in December. Furthermore, the unemployment rate decreased in 13 of those areas, indicating steady and consistent job growth throughout the state, according to the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
How Illinois is building unique regional collaborations that drive economic growth
Illinois is made up of a diverse network of communities, each with their own assets that attract businesses and drive growth. Throughout the state, these communities are embracing collaboration, finding that working together to promote their regions can significantly boost economic development. Companies making location decisions do not see boundaries between jurisdictions. When a business locates in one community, it positively impacts the entire surrounding region.
Four economic development trends that could lead to opportunity in 2023
The start of a new year often brings new opportunities for business growth. One of these opportunities that can significantly impact businesses is the decision to expand or relocate. The complex process requires careful consideration of financial feasibility, market demand, availability of resources and talent, and the potential impact on current operations. As business leaders map out their plans for the year ahead, they are carefully evaluating these and other factors to make informed decisions and navigate any challenges ahead with confidence.
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