Talent Demographics Drive Corporate Relocation to Urban Downtowns

McDonald’s corporation recently announced that after 45 years on its sprawling suburban campus in Oak Brook, Ill, it will be moving its headquarters to downtown Chicago. This is just one corporate relocation announcements in a string of companies announcing moves to downtown urban centers. Companies are realizing that urban settings make for the best place to grow and find new talent in today’s market.


Chicago has long been one of the country’s top office markets. According to Andy Davidson, executive vice president and director of corporate services and tenant advisory for the Chicago based MB Real Estate, he is tracking 75 firms that have signed on to move into downtown Chicago. “With thousands of baby boomers retiring every day, these firms are realizing they have to go after the talent instead of trying to lure them out to the suburbs. These college graduates today would rather bartend, honestly, than go to work for a corporation out in the ‘burbs.”


Chicago is just an example of urban corporate relocations in major cities all over the country. Other examples are Expedia moving into Seattle from its longtime home in Bellevue, WA and General Electric is moving to the Boston waterfront from its longtime headquarters in Connecticut.


Even as rents are increasing for both residential and office, the demographics of talent are continuing to filter into downtown urban settings. Corporations are realizing that they need to go after the talent, rather than attempting to lure them away from the live/work/play lifestyle that urban cities offer.


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Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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