Throughout the past six financial quarters, the city of Chicago has seen decreasing downtown office vacancy rates, and for the recently passed third quarter of fiscal 2015, the rate is at 12.8%, falling below 13% for the first time since 2008 (thanks to Crain's Chicago Business for compiling this data). Not only are big name businesses like Groupon GRPN , Yelp YELP , and the consulting firm Deloitte renewing their leases, but many companies are choosing Chicago as a new home for their regional or global headquarters.
Let's take a look at three corporations that have relocated to downtown Chicago this year.
1. ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG)
Known for its brands like Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, and Chef Boyardee, ConAgra Foods is a giant in the food production industry; however, in the face of changing tastes and falling sales, the corporation decided to move its headquarters from Omaha, Nebraska to Chicago. This announcement came back in October when the company also said it would be cutting 1,500 jobs while relocating 700 jobs to the new office space. ConAgra leased a nearly 170,000-square-foot space in Chicago's historic Merchandise Mart; the headquarters will now house its frozen, grocery, and snack departments, which before were in separate states.
2. Kraft Heinz Co (KHC)
After decades in the suburbs-Northfield, Illinois, to be exact-Kraft Heinz announced this past summer that it will be moving its headquarters to downtown Chicago early next year. The company signed a lease for a nearly 170,000-square-foot space in the Aon Center in the East Loop. Kraft Heinz will continue to run its second headquarters, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to the Wall Street Journal , the new office will have an open layout that spans five floors. The move to downtown will "firmly establish our dynamic new culture, based on meritocracy, speed, efficiency and collaboration," company spokesman Michael Mullen said in a statement. The move to downtown-the Aon Center is located on East Randolph Street-will be a return to Kraft's roots; founder J.L. Kraft first began selling cheese to local Chicago merchants in 1903.
3. Motorola Solutions (MSI)
Back in September, Motorola Solutions, a company that specializes in equipment for police and other public safety agencies, announced that it will be moving its global headquarters, along with 800 jobs from the suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois to downtown Chicago; however, the company will still maintain a large presence in the suburb, keeping 1,600 employees there. The new headquarters will be located at 500 West Madison Street, which is on the western edge of Chicago's Loop area; the space is just over 150,000-square-feet. Motorola Solutions' headquarters will now be home to the company's venture group, chief technology office, information technology office, and its software engineering post.
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