The metro was home to 373 new and expanding companies, translating into 10,000 new jobs and $2.8B in investment, last year, winning Chicago No. 1 from Site Selection magazine. Studley EVP and tenant rep Rick Schuham says we offer: O'Hare, top-tier schools, abundant public transit, and cheaper labor and real estate costs than metros like NYC and Boston. (Without the pesky traditions of winning baseball games that come with those cities.) We also love to build when rents get to 70% to 75% of replacement cost (like right now), he tells us. Even CBD land sites are still plentiful, and projects go up quickly thanks to a development-friendly local government, putting pressure on occupancy costs.
The state does have its challenges, Rick says, making the future of incentives for corporate relos uncertain. Also, money for TIF districts is being scrutinized more heavily, thanks to tightened municipal budgets. With corporate expansions, Rick's not seeing them in terms of space, but rather number of employees. “Relocations are generally to smaller, more efficient space,” he says. For example, ADM's buzzed about move downtown to 77 W Wacker (above) ended with a two-floor lease. A coup for the city, but the square footage would have been far larger with pre-recession space standards. Rick's off to Colorado today for his last skiing of the season.
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