Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s economy is flourishing despite recent high-profile corporate departures.
The Windy City has lost two of its large corporate residents in recent months: Citadel is heading to Miami amid concerns about Chicago’s crime rate and frustrations with political leadership in Illinois, and Boeing Co. plans to relocate its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, after two decades in Chicago. In June, Caterpillar Inc. made the decision to move its top corporate brass from Deerfield, Illinois — a Chicago suburb — to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.
When asked during her budget address Wednesday about the impact those losses will have on Chicago’s revenue, Lightfoot said simply: “Little to none.”
“It’s unfortunate that those companies choose to relocate, but what I’m focused on is companies that are betting on Chicago — Google, Kellogg Co., Abbott Laboratories and others — big notable house names, international companies that are finding what they need here in the City of Chicago,” she said. “The data tells us that Chicago is back, that our economy is booming.”
The mayor also pointed to the city’s growing office occupancy and a recent office expansion from Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
Google already has 1,800 employees in the city’s booming Fulton Market area across the Chicago River, and has been expanding in Chicago since it opened a two-person office nearby in 2000. The company said once renovations are complete in 2026, it plans to have employees in the Thompson Center.
The investment is the “largest corporate expansion in modern Chicago history,” Lightfoot said Wednesday, and will bring a minimum of 3,000 new jobs to the city.
Last year, 173 corporations moved to or expanded their presence in Chicago, Lightfoot said, adding that the city is on track to meet or exceed that number in 2022.