With only a few dozen jobs involved, this story is not so much about economic development as it is about the prestige of having ADM based in Chicago and the fact that local politicians gave up nothing to get the company here.
The agribusiness company has not said where in downtown Chicago it will locate its international headquarters. But Archer Daniels Midland will move 50 to 75 executives here in 2014.
"Chicago will be a great location for us. It has an international airport and a very diverse workforce," said Victoria Podesta, ADM spokeswoman.
For the past 44 years, ADM has based itself in Decatur where it will maintain corn and soybean processing plants employing over 4,000 workers.The company wanted state tax breaks to keep its headquarters in Illinois but ran into stiff opposition from state lawmakers.
"Because if we're going to provide incentives for these companies, they ought to provide us something very tangible and a couple of hundred jobs I don't think cuts it," said State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie.
"The whole idea of tax matters, I think is secondary to good workforce and making sure you have good logistics and transportation," said Gov. Pat Quinn.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Chicago's "outstanding workforce, globally renowned transportation and infrastructure, and excellent quality of life" lured the company that also considered St. Louis and Minneapolis.
ADM officials say they are still trying to find a location for a new technology center to employ another 100 workers. The governor said the state would be careful before offering incentives for that facility.
"The bottom line is we've got the best workers. And so, it's unlikely we'll be offerring tax incentives willy-nilly," said Gov. Quinn.
The ADM move from Decatur to Chicago is tentatively scheduled for spring and/or summer. You have to believe the city is the favorite for that tech center given the fact all the ADM bosses will be working here.