Suits: Chicago Is "Freaking Awesome"
While that descriptor didn't come from a typical suit, that's apparently the consensus in corporate board rooms. The Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area was the recipient of more corporate investment than any other metro area in the US, according to Site Selection magazine.
Their annual survey on corporate facility projects finds Chicago with 165 projects announced in 2006, besting number-two D.C.'s 110. The article profiles EA's decision to open their regional headquarters in Chicago, beating out tech-hub Austin. The office will initially house 200 game developers with the capacity to add 100 more support staff. EA's VP picked Chicago because "the city is freaking awesome. It has such a vibe and pace to it." We couldn't agree more. Let's just hope EA doesn't try to pull that digital sweatshop bullshit out here.
The article also mentions the more significant decision by United Airlines to locate its headquarters in downtown Chicago. The location on West Wacker was chosen over sites in Denver and San Francisco.
Think all this isn't important? More jobs aren't always a good thing, but white collar jobs supplied by good corporate citizens should be welcomed. A strong service economy will help insulate Chicago from the decline of the area's manufacturing sector.
Whether or not workers can make a transition from manufacturing to service remains to be seen. Chicagoist sees an opportunity for Daley & Co. to help locals take advantage of some of the new service jobs being created here. Perhaps existing job training programs could be expanded with all the new tax dollars these employers will bring.