Motorola Mobility moving HQ to Chicago from Libertyville

July 26, 2012 4:21:36 PM PDT
Mayor Emanuel is calling it a ''game changer.'' Motorola Mobility is moving more than 3,000 jobs to Chicago's Merchandise Mart.

The mayor says it is the city's largest jobs coup in decades.

The workers' arrival will complete the transformation of one of Chicago's most famous buildings into one of America's largest technology centers.

The owners of the historic Merchandise Mart cleared 600,000-square-feet of space to make room for Motorola Mobility, the Libertyville-based smartphone maker taken over by Google earlier this year.

Over 3,000 mostly higher-salaried workers -- engineers, designers, marketers and their support staffs -- will occupy the Mart's top four floors and rooftop.

"It's a gamechanger and we're now the, in my view, the tech capital, the digital capital of the Midwest," said Mayor Emanuel.

An ecstatic Mayor Emanuel smiled at news the deal had been closed after months of sensitive negotiations.

At the Mart, Google will join other technology firms and a business incubator for tech startups called "1871."

"There will be startup companies," Emanuel said. "Let's give you an example of their New York office that has now 3,000 employees--there's like 40 startups that all come around it. Other companies. This is a multiplier for job creation and economic development."

Last year, before being acquired by Google, Motorola Mobility signed an agreement to remain in Illinois in exchange for $110 million in tax incentives.

Governor Pat Quinn said that deal would stand for the company's new owner when it moves to the state's largest city from Libertyville.

"The bottom line is, we want to keep the jobs in Illinois," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "And it's important to have good technology jobs in Illinois that spawn other jobs for many, many different people."

The move to the Mart will happen during the next 15 months.

The Motorola brand was founded in Chicago in 1928. In a statement, CEO Dennis Woodside wrote, "What better place to continue our commitment to the state, honor our heritage and recruit top talent?"

Mayor Emanuel did not shy away from using the announcement to further his political and economic agenda.

"Any time you add jobs it's a net gain," said the mayor. "We're leading the country in job creation and this will only confirm our leadership."

The mayor says the city offered no incentives to Google beyond what the State of Illinois granted last year.

Despite the tax increases, budget and pension deficits at the city and state levels, Google wants to be in Chicago, Illinois.


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