Report: Chicago, state among best for corporate facilities
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter March 2, 2014 8:12PM
Updated: April 4, 2014 6:26AM
Gov. Pat Quinn is touting a new magazine ranking this week that puts Illinois and Chicago among the top markets for corporations either expanding their offices or opening new ones.
The analysis by Site Selection magazine concluded the Chicago area is now the country’s leading metro market for “new and expanded corporate facilities.” Illinois is third nationally, the magazine found.
In the wake of that study, Quinn also announced the mobile commerce firm Punchkick Interactive Inc. will expand its Chicago operation and create at least 60 new jobs in two years.
“Illinois is turning a corner,” said Adam Pollet, director of the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Pollet said the state is tackling tough issues, like pension reform, to create the type of predictable marketplace business leaders crave. They also want a skilled workforce and world-class transportation infrastructure that can be found in Illinois, he said.
Just three years ago, though, Illinois lawmakers raised the state’s income tax and delighted the governors of Indiana and Wisconsin who promised to poach disgruntled Illinois businesses.
The Site Selection analysis for the Chicago area did include certain counties in Indiana and Wisconsin. But Pollet said the talk three years ago from those states was “hot air” now debunked by the Site Selection analysis.
“Poaching companies is not an economic development strategy,” Pollet said. “You’ve got to do the fundamentals.”
Site Selection said the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area saw 373 new or expanded corporate locations in 2013, more than any other major city in the country. Chicago ranked second on the list for the past two years.
Meanwhile, 383 corporate facilities located or expanded within Illinois’ borders in 2013.
The magazine counted businesses that made a capital investment of at least $1 million, created at least 50 jobs or added 20,000 square feet of new floor area.