Chicago Named Top Metro for Corporate Investment, Ninth Year in A Row by Site Selection Magazine
“Chicago shows again that it has the brains and the will to establish a vision and the muscle to carry it out.” – Site Selection magazine
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and World Business Chicago today announced that for the ninth consecutive year, Chicago has been ranked as “Top Metro” in the United States for corporate investment by Site Selection magazine.
According to the magazine, the Chicago metro area saw an all-time record number of new and expanding corporate locations, more than any other region in the country. In presenting the award, senior editor Gary Daughters said, “Chicago shows again that it has the brains and the will to establish a vision and the muscle to carry it out.”
"We remain the nation's leading destination for corporate relocations and expansions," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Earning this title for the ninth year in a row is truly a testament to our city's incredible strengths, workforce and diverse economy. As we continue to recover from this pandemic on a social and economic level, this ongoing success in attracting businesses will bode well for Chicago's future and enable business leaders to secure the connections, resources and support they need to grow."
Site Selection tracked 441 qualifying business expansions and relocations in the Chicagoland MSA, accounting for more than $2.8 billion in investments, 18,368 jobs and 59 million square feet of expansion or new space. Major corporate expansions in 2021 reflected growth in top Chicago industries—from tech to consumer goods to TD&L and manufacturing. Among the companies expanding or relocating included Nature’s Fynd, Teagus, John Deere, Discover Financial Services, Kimberly Clark, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Quiet Logistics and Italco Foods.
“We frequently hear from company decision-makers that Chicago’s unmatched pipeline of diverse and skilled talent, central location and connectivity to the world, coupled with strong business infrastructure—sets the city apart from others when it comes to relocation and expansion,” said Michael Fassnacht, president & CEO, World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer, city of Chicago. “Today, Chicago is also seen as a role model for equitable recovery and economic growth. Our commitment to drive sustainable, inclusive growth in order to realize healthier communities and improve the livelihoods of all Chicago residents, especially those in historically underserved neighborhoods, is significant.”
Chicago will continue to propel its economic growth in the years ahead through the city’s Recovery Task Force (RTF) report, a strategy led by Mayor Lightfoot. The RTF is driving economic recovery and transformative, once-in-a-generation changes to eliminate the deep, glaring chasms of inequity it has brought to the surface. Among the recommendations in the report include addressing new and old traumas, expanding equitable and inclusive economic opportunity, on region strengths, capturing opportunities created by the pandemic, reintroducing Chicago’s master brand and furthering investments in key initiatives including INVEST South/West.
WHAT QUALIFYING 2021 COMPANY CEOs ARE SAYING:
“Our rapid expansion on the city’s South Side and launch across Mariano's Markets reflects our view that Chicago is where we are best positioned for future growth and success,” said Thomas Jonas, CEO, Nature’s Fynd. “World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development agency, has been a strong resource for us in connecting to the city’s manufacturing infrastructure and the acceleration of business and industry through technology. And the irony of reinventing the future of food with Fy Protein™ on the site of the city’s old stockyards is not lost on us. We look forward to becoming a future world leader in nourishing people and nurturing the planet with our delicious and sustainable vegan foods.”
“Aviation Institute of Maintenance has 14 campuses across the country, and we provide roughly 23 percent of all certified aircraft mechanics to airlines. World Business Chicago supported us in finding a location, helped us consider state and local incentives, and even helped us find an audience with local political figures that are important to our mission,” said Dr. Joel A. English, EVP, Aviation Institute of Maintenance. “Chicago almost immediately became the frontrunner in our search for our new campus in 2020, and World Business Chicago helped us solidify our new home in the Windy City. Our 137,000 square foot campus is busily producing certified aircraft mechanics for United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and all other airlines that serve O’Hare and Midway.”
“The decision to open our newest Customer Service Call Center in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood in 2021 stemmed from our belief in the need for corporate America to help turn the tide in vital urban communities hard-hit by longstanding bias and unfair treatment,” said Roger Hochschild, Discover CEO and president. “By creating jobs with competitive pay and benefits where they are needed most, we found great talent whose performance is exceeding our expectations. In the future – from site selection to hiring practices, to community engagement and procurement – we will continue to seek inclusion and equity in our efforts.”
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ABOUT WORLD BUSINESS CHICAGO
World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city.
ABOUT SITE SELECTION
Site Selection magazine focuses on new corporate facility projects with significant impact, such as headquarters, manufacturing plants, R&D and logistics sites. In order to be considered, 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. Site Selection is published by Conway Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.