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Chicago Named 2013 “Top Metro” in North America for Corporate Relocation and Expansions

Chicago was ranked the “Top Metro” in the U.S. for corporate investment in a report released today by Site Selection magazine, considered the “industry scoreboard for corporate investment and relocation professionals.” The publication recognized that the Chicago region was home to more new or expanded corporate facilities than any other metropolitan area in the nation in 2013, with 373 new and expanding companies, generating approximately 10,000 new jobs and $2.8 billion in investment.

“I’m pleased to see Site Selection recognize what businesses – both large and small – are noticing: Chicago is a premier location to grow and thrive,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our city has access to the world via our unique transportation system and central location, and we also have an unrivaled talent pool, fueled by our extensive higher education institutions. People and companies alike want to be in Chicago.”

In addition, Site Selection ranked Illinois the #3 state in U.S. in its Governor’s Cup, recognizing states with the most qualifying new and expanded facilities. The state of Illinois moved up from #5 last year, with 383 qualifying projects.

In conjunction with Site Selection’s announcement, World Business Chicago (WBC) today released its annual Business Growth Profile. The report showcases the direct investment data that WBC tracked and submitted to Site Selection in consideration of the “Top Metro” title. WBC tracked 677 projects accounting for nearly 40,000 jobs, 35 million square feet of space, and more than $6 billion in investments in 2013*; of these, approximately 370 projects qualified for the publication’s requirements.

“WBC has had a very successful year in terms of attracting companies and assisting those looking to expand in the region, as we continue to implement Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs strategies,” said World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “The impact of Plan strategies including making Chicago a center for business services and headquarters, and building an environment where businesses can flourish, is illustrated in Site Selection’s report.”

“Metros that appear on our rankings of top locations for new projects, particularly at the top like Chicago, are the metros with the location attributes most in demand by corporate site selectors,” says Mark Arend, Site Selection’s editor in chief. “Cities and regions compete aggressively for capital investment, so ranking among our Top Metros is evidence of a highly successful economic development strategy.”

WBC’s Business Growth Profile’s emerging trends align closely with Mayor Emanuel’s efforts and Plan strategies. The report shows strength in the transportation and logistics industry, along with advanced manufacturing. It also highlights the importance of skilled workforce and talent as a driver in company location decisions. In addition, the report highlights innovation and entrepreneurship and the importance of WBC’s ChicagoNEXT effort to drive growth in this space with its partners.

The interactive map below illustrates all 2013 Business Growth Profile expansions* with a confirmed address (red map markers indicate a headquarters):

Referred to as the “Hottest Urban Center in the U.S.” by Crain’s Chicago Business, the city of Chicago welcomed 217 new and expanding businesses in 2013—nearly one-third of the region’s total (comprising 4.6 million square feet of added space, 21,312 new and retained jobs, and $3.0 billion in investment). Companies including ADM, Gogo and Motorola Mobility moved to access the city’s talent.

The number of international companies new to, or expanding in Chicago, also increased from 80 in 2012 to 114 in 2013. Examples include Bank of China, Hannover Fairs USA and airberlin. Approximately 40 percent of the region’s international investments were made within the city.

View the Business Growth Profile PDF.


*Refers to data for new and expanding companies with a physical address in the 14-county Chicago region that meet at least one of these criteria: $1M investment, a net gain of 20,000 sq ft, a net gain of 50 jobs, a headquarters facility and/or WBC involvement. WBC captures project information at the time of announcement from media outlets, press releases, company websites, and WBC internal reporting on a rolling basis; the quality of each record depends on the availability of data and resources to input and confirm information. Data subject to revision. 

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