In the November edition of Economic Focus, World Business Chicago published a list of companies that had recently announced growth plans in the Chicago area. The impressive list surprised many of our readers. We are happy to report that despite tough economic circumstances throughout the country, we continue to see companies expanding and adding jobs in Chicago. Here is a sample of companies that have announced an increased presence since December.

Alpine Access, a provider of contact center solutions for companies, announced it is expanding and will hire additional customer care professionals in and around Chicago

ammado, a Dublin, Ireland-based online giving platform, opened its first U.S. office in Chicago, alongside offices in other key cities.

The Caldwell Partners International Inc., Canada’s national human capital services firm, announced the expansion of its operations into the United States with the addition of partners in Chicago and other key cities.

CDW Corp., a provider of technology products for businesses, has completed a 24,000-square-foot build-out of its downtown Chicago office at 120 S. Riverside Plaza.

Clearwire Corp. plans to extend its wireless data network, a competitor to the latest cellular networks, to Chicago this year.

Data Development Worldwide (DDW), a leading global marketing research firm, opened a new office in Chicago.

Datactics, a Belfast, Ireland-based data management company, established its North American representative office in the Loop in February.

E.ON Climate & Renewables North America Inc. signed a 10-year lease to expand into about 28,400 square feet at 353 N. Clark St.

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (FNF) announced the expansion of FNF 1031 Exchange Company with the opening of offices in Chicago.

First Chicago Bancorp plans to move its headquarters to 15,593 square feet at 1040 W. Randolph St., which will house a retail site and commercial office.

Freshii, a restaurant chain which moved its headquarters to Chicago from Toronto
last year, will be opening additional stores in Chicago this year.

FTI Consulting, a Baltimore-based business and economic consulting firm, leased 91,265 square feet at the Franklin Center complex in Chicago’s West Loop.

Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, a St. Louis-based law firm, opened its first Chicago office at 200 W. Madison St.

HSBC North America Holdings plans to move its primary and backup data center functions from New York State to Chicago over the next two years.

Hudson Insurance Group, the U.S. insurance division of Odyssey Re Holdings, opened a new regional office in Chicago.

IDEO, an industrial design firm, has increased the size of its Chicago office by about 25%, to 20,442 square feet, as part of a move from Evanston to 626 W. Jackson Blvd.

IMC Chicago, an Amsterdam-based trading firm, has more than doubled its space in the Sears Tower, expanding by nearly 34,000 square feet and giving the firm the entire 43rd floor.  The office has about 95 employees and expects to grow 30%-35% this year.

International Transload Logistics, a warehouse, packaging, loading and domestic transport company, signed a deal to occupy 98,000 square feet at Phase I of Gateway Park in Chicago.

Interstate Bakeries moved part of its Wonder Bread production to Chicago from Ohio.

National Able Network (NAN), a Chicago-based nonprofit employment and training agency, signed an 11-year lease for 22,000 square feet.

OfficeLinks, a provider of ready-to-use offices and meeting rooms, opened its first location outside of New York City in the Sears Tower, with 30,000 square feet, 100 offices, 241 workstations and a High Definition videoconferencing studio.

Pfingsten Partners LLC, a private equity firm, is moving its headquarters downtown from north suburban Deerfield, and has leased about 15,000 square feet in the new office tower being built at 300 N. LaSalle St.

Playboy Magazine is moving its editorial offices back to Chicago, consolidating print and online editorial and moving an unspecified number of positions from New York.

Promos Milan, the city of Milan’s chamber of commerce, established a Chicago presence at the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest.

Proskauer Rose LLP, a law firm with 800 lawyers worldwide, announced the continuation of its Chicago expansion with a move into 25,000 square feet of office space in Three First National Plaza at 70 W. Madison St.

Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., a Milwaukee-based company, signed a lease to open a two-level, 55,000-square-foot grocery store at the southwest corner of the Lakeshore East development near Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Serious Materials, Inc. will reopen the former Republic Doors and Windows facility on Goose Island and gradually hire back its union employees into green collar jobs., America’s first and largest online caregiving network, closed $7.5 million in equity financing. The Chicago-based company currently has a network of over 150,000 caregivers across the country.

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a Chicago-based corporate law firm, hired 100 attorneys, bringing the firm’s total number of lawyers to 800 in 15 offices worldwide.

Stefanini IT Solutions, a Brazilian IT consulting firm, has opened an office in Chicago, its fifth unit in North America, to strategically develop new deals in the automotive, pharmaceutical, technology and financial sectors.

Tesla Motors Inc. is opening a Midwest regional sales and service center in Chicago at 1053 W. Grand Avenue.

UFood Restaurant Group, Inc., an operator of “better-for-you” fast-casual restaurants, will open the third UFood Grill location in the Chicago metropolitan area in less than a year at 2218 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Velocity Futures, a non-bank-owned independent Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) that provides active traders all over the world with access to the electronic futures markets, opened a Chicago office in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Building.

VOA Associates Inc., a Chicago-based architectural, planning and interior design firm, has completed a 40,000-square-foot, LEED Silver-certified build-out of its office at 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Willis Group Holdings, a global insurance broker, chose Chicago for its regional headquarters and will bring about 500 jobs to 140,000 square feet in the Sears Tower, which will be renamed the Willis Tower.

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