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An Epicenter of Industry in Illinois


From the rolling hills of Southern Illinois, to the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s Loop, the Land of Lincoln is a diverse state that offers businesses a wide array of options for locating or expanding.

Sitting at the industrial and geographic center of the nation, the state of Illinois provides a unique setting for a diverse range of successful industries including manufacturing, finance, agriculture, technology, and warehousing and distribution. Along with a $590 billion economy—the nation’s fifth largest—Illinois boasts a six-million-strong workforce and is home to 33 Fortune 500 companies and the world’s largest futures and options exchange, CME Group Inc.

With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and western Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. Nearly half of the more than 6 million workers in Illinois are professionals, skilled technicians, craftspeople, or machine operators. More than 50 percent of the state’s workforce has gained education beyond high school. In addition, Illinois worker productivity exceeds the U.S. average by $0.35 per hour.

The state’s excellent transportation infrastructure makes it a natural and cost-effective location for any business. Not only does it offer one of the best interstate highway networks in the country, but it is also at the center of the national rail network, is home to O’Hare International Airport, the world’s second busiest airport, as well as major commuter hubs both at Midway Airport and throughout downstate Illinois. Illinois is home to a dozen port districts, some located in Foreign Trade Zones, which provide low-cost production and warehousing facilities for imported and export-bound products. The Port of Chicago connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River.

With more than 200 academic, government, and non-profit research institutions and a breadth of rich offerings in medical, agricultural, industrial biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology, Illinois is well known as one of the nation’s high technology leaders. Tech companies located in the state include Orbitz, Yahoo!, Navteq, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intel, THQ, Lucent, and Tellabs.

The state’s world-class research and education institutions, including the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, conduct research across a broad range of fields and are on the forefront of the technological frontier. They provide resources to support every state and area of innovative technology development, from basic research start-ups to large corporations. Incubators and research parks are located throughout Illinois in an effort to provide facilities for research and development. These technology parks provide employment for thousands of professionals while generating millions of dollars in research funding. To help spur future development in the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation recently unveiled an $11.25-billion multi-year highway improvement program beginning in 2010. The comprehensive plan aims to jumpstart the economy by building new schools, repairing aging roads and bridges, improving mass transit, creating 420,000 jobs over six years, and maximizing the federal recovery money the state receives.

“In order to build a brighter economic future, it is critical that we pass a full-scale capital plan,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “This plan would not only enable us to invest in transportation, but also create the jobs and opportunity we need to keep our economy moving forward.”

If your business is looking to locate in a forward-looking economy with access to one of the largest markets in the U.S., the following Illinois locations would be a perfect fit.

Chicago: Financial and Commercial Heart of Illinois

Even in today’s technology-driven global economy, where you locate your business is an important consideration when looking to expand operations and reach new markets. And, like no other location in the world, the state of Illinois—and its largest city, Chicago—offer many advantages.

Chicago, the financial and commercial heart of Illinois, offers a variety of resources and advantages for companies doing business. In fact, in 2008 Foreign Direct Investment recognized Chicago with the following honors in:

  • “Best Economic Potential”
  • “Best Infrastructure”
  • “Best Development and Investment Promotion”
  • “Most Cost Effective”
  • “Best Human Resources”
  • “Best Quality of Life”
  • “Most Business Friendly”

But these assets don’t just apply to foreign companies investing in Illinois, they apply to any company interested in coming to Illinois—regardless of their location.

The recent acquisition of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) by The CME Group solidifies Chicago as a world capital for futures and options trading. Illinois is the geographic center of the United States, making it a natural and cost-effective place for storing and distributing products regionally, nationally and internationally. In fact, more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies operate major distribution centers in Illinois, and Chicago ranks fifth in the number of Fortune 500 companies in the US.

More than 2,000 miles of interstate highway cross the state, including three coast-to-coast interstate highways. Illinois is home to two of the nation’s largest rail gateways in Chicago and East St. Louis, 1,118 miles of navigable waterways that offer direct links to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, state-of-the-art intermodal facilities and ports, and the second-largest airport system in the U.S. with 114 public use airports, 285 heliports and more than 880 aviation facilities.

The crown jewel is Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, through which 1.5 million tons of cargo and 70.8 million travelers pass each year. Just last year, there were 88,587 international flights out of Illinois—an average of 243 flights per day.

Likewise, data transport is extremely efficient in Illinois. Hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cable have been installed and virtually the entire state has digital switching capability.

Illinois also is a great location to find skilled labor for your business. The state offers a diverse, well-trained workforce, with nearly half of the six million workers being professionals or skilled technicians. Illinois ranks fourth in the nation and second in the Great Lakes region for value-added productivity in manufacturing. Productivity in Illinois outperforms other Great Lakes states by $9.04 USD per hour.

Illinois has earned a reputation for being a global leader in biotechnology. Next year, Chicago will host BIO 2010, which marks the second time the “Olympics” of biotech will come to the Midwestern United States. The annual BIO convention is the industry’s largest gathering of researchers, major international and domestic life sciences corporations, start-ups, regulators and investors. Illinois first showcased its growing biotech business at BIO 2006 when almost 20,000 people from 62 countries came to Chicago.

Elk Grove Village: Open for Business

Elk Grove Village is located adjacent to Chicago’s northwest city limits (O’Hare International Airport), 22 miles from Chicago’s Loop. This strategic location has done much to attract the nearly 3,800 companies that have established themselves during the past 53 years. These companies represent every major trading partner involved with the U.S. international trade, which truly represent a cross section of U.S. industry and commerce.

The diversity of these companies’ activities has ensured economic stability and continual growth. During the past twenty years, roughly 100 companies have opened in Elk Grove, which ranks as the second highest with the number of manufacturing firms and third with the value of production in Illinois.

When Elk Grove was established in 1956, it was designed as a planned community. The goal was to have industry and residential growth work together in a partnership. At the time there was a need to maintain an exceptional standard of living and job security for residents. This is still something that Elk Grove Village strives for today.

It also was decided that fire, police and medical services should grow together with the expanding population, both industrial and residential. Today Elk Grove is ranked with a Class 2 fire rating, second only to the City of Chicago. In addition, police service permits lower insurance rates than any of the other surrounding communities.

The continued success of the Business Park is dependent on the Village’s ability to meet the changing needs of the business community.

The consultant team of Land Vision, Inc., Civil Tech Engineering, Economic Research Associates, Rocky Mountain Institute and Gary Weber Associates, Inc. is working with the Industrial Commercial/Revitalization Commission to update the 1998 ICRC Master Plan.

This team has examined land use and urban design, infrastructure improvements, and financing options. The group is helping the Village to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan Update and is establishing a framework for the continuation of the Industrial Revitalization program for the next 10 years.

The study attempts to prepare for the future needs of the Business Park. This will help build a guideline for future project recommendations. Guidelines and standards also will be set for the redevelopment of properties including major building renovations and demolitions. Future transportation needs will also be analyzed to help prioritize future projects within the Village.

When considering Elk Grove Village as your new business location, you’ll find that exceptional is the rule from the town’s strategic location and expansive industrial base to its friendly hometown spirit and enviable quality of life. To explore all the outstanding business benefits that make Elk Grove the exceptional community, visit www.elkgrove.com or call the economic development coordinator at 847-439-3900.

The Illinois Valley Area: Crossroads of Your Future

The Illinois Valley Area, located at the crossroads of the nation, is comprised of 23 communities located approximately 90 miles southwest of Chicago along the Illinois River in North Central Illinois.

Interstate 80, which provides coast to coast access, intersects with Interstate 39, the connecting link of the interstate highway from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, in the Illinois Valley Area. This provides easy access to most markets for the logistics and manufacturing segment of business. The Illinois River affords the business community the opportunity for year-round shipments by barge, and the Illinois Valley Regional Airport, with a 6,000 foot runway, will accommodate any business jet.

The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development has an extensive database of available sites—totaling more than 5,700 acres, some of which are rail served, and barge service is available to local industry. Most sites have interstate access within a mile and many are located in enterprise zones and TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Districts.

With a strong agricultural and cultural history, the area offers an abundant skilled workforce with a good work ethic. Firms that have located new facilities in the Illinois Valley Area are well pleased with the quality of the workforce and many have expanded their original buildings. The Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) offers excellent courses in high-tech programs and stands ready to tailormake training courses, with training conducted either on-site or on-campus, to fit the needs of area business and industry. As an example, recently a truck driver certification program was developed to fill a local need and is an overwhelming success. The area is situated within a little more than an hours drive from five four-year universities for those desiring advanced education.

The Illinois Valley Area is optimally suited as a location for logistics, manufacturing and administrative operations. Several international companies and many domestic firms have located in the area and have been welcomed with open arms. These include both large warehouse/distribution centers and many trucking facilities, along with a number of manufacturing firms, both international and domestic.

With competitive utility rates available, Illinois Valley offers a great place to live and conduct business. It offers the advantages of ample, reasonably priced, available land; lower cost of doing business; lower crime rates; small town living; and great recreational opportunities. The Illinois River provides recreational boating and fishing and the scenic Matthiessen and Starved Rock State Parks provide beautiful canyons, waterfalls and opportunities for hiking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter.

The location, with close proximity to the Chicago metropolitan area, provides easy access to the many cultural and sporting events in the city, while at the same time the local quality of life offers the comfort and safety of a smaller community. To find out more about the advantages of locating your business in the Illinois Valley Area call 815-223-0227 or visit www.ivaced.org.

Work, Play, and Live in the Village of Hoffman Estates

Located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the Village of Hoffman Estates is a 20-square-mile community of almost 53,000 people. Hoffman Estates is a model for the “work-play-live” generation, with affordable to high-end homes, more than seven square miles of open space consisting of numerous parks and two major forest preserves. Hoffman Estates is the North American or Midwest Headquarters to such corporate giants as Sears Holdings, AT&T, GE Capital Services, Siemens Medical Systems, Claire’s Accessories, Automatic Data Processing, St. Alexius Medical Center, and more. Hoffman Estates also is home to international companies such as Givaudan (Swiss), Mori Seiki (Japanese), AMCOL International, Bosch Rexroth (German) and others.

Companies locating in Hoffman Estates have access to a market area that includes 1.5 million people within the greater Chicago metropolitan population of nine million, making this area the third largest metro area in the United States. The Village is served by nearly every regional roadway, including the Jane Addams Tollway (Interstate 90), as well as state routes 58, 59, 62, and 72. Located 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and 12 miles from O’Hare International Airport, Hoffman Estates is accessible to the world. This location also provides a well-educated labor supply. More than 26,000 people are employed by the more than 800 businesses operating in Hoffman Estates. The employees are drawn from the pool of 2.8 million workers who reside within a 60-minute commute of the Village.

Hoffman Estates has enjoyed significant office and retail growth during the past five years, especially within the western sector. In 2008, Prairie Pointe, a multi-story, 65,000-square-foot medical office building opened. Hoffman Estates is home to Prairie Stone Corporate Center, the first Class A spec office space that was built in the northwest suburbs in seven years. In the same year, Serta International completed a new 100,000-square-foot International Headquarters building and AMCOL International completed a 70,000-square-foot building. Mori Seiki, a machine tool producer, is opening a 100,000-plus-square-foot U.S. headquarters building in fall 2009. Big Kaiser (precision tooling) and JCL Bioassay (pharmaceutical drug testing) are building headquarters for 2010 completion.

In order to sustain a balance with the demands of the marketplace, there are some remaining areas open for retail, office, and light industrial. Developers are seeking tenants in the following areas:

  • Prairie Stone Business Park (prairiestone.com).
  • Huntington Woods Corporate Center (hwcc-hoffman.com), a mixed-use development consisting of offices, flex-tech, and showroom/warehouse buildings with restaurant pads to serve the world headquarters in the park.
  • Shoppes of Plum Farms, a 24-acre site available for mixed-use retail/office/residential.
  • Sutton Crossing, with more than 100 acres for office and retail on the southeast corner of IL 59 and Interstate 90.
  • Beverly Properties, a former quarry parcel for mixed uses (retail/office/residential). To find out how your business can locate in this diverse community, visit www.hoffmanestates.org/business.

Wheeling, A Winning Location

Located in Chicago’s prestigious north suburban market, Wheeling, IL is enhancing its standing as one of the region’s hottest business centers.

Wheeling is an entertainment destination for diners and shoppers in the area. Home to the renowned “Restaurant Row” along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor, Wheeling offers dozens of opportunities for unique, upscale dining. New entertainment businesses plan to join the community in this lively district this year.

Wheeling is in the heart of the Chicago area, a region companies value for its central location to markets across the nation. Within 19 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and nine miles north of O’Hare International Airport, Wheeling’s central location in the region makes it a natural location for business owners. Wheeling has successfully leveraged its transportation amenities to become a magnet for corporate, hospitality, and manufacturing industries. With two interchanges and direct access to I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) and Illinois Route 53, Wheeling businesses enjoy easy roadway access to and from destinations throughout the Midwest. Rail service in the community provides freight service to its business parks, and commuter service to the Wheeling Metra train station, offering convenient transit options for the region’s workforce.

In addition, Wheeling is co-owner of Chicago Executive Airport, which handles nearly 200,000 private and corporate flights each year. The airport offers a flight-training school and an additional transportation option for executives in the region. Community educational institutions include National Louis University, Harper College, and Solex College, which complement the acclaimed educational opportunities the Chicagoland area is known for.

Wheeling is home to 40,000 residents and was honored earlier this year by Family Circle magazine, which named Wheeling “One of the Top Places in the U.S. to Raise a Family.” Wheeling received this honor due to its globally diverse population, educational system, parks and recreation opportunities that provide an outstanding quality of life for families and businesses alike. Wheeling also was awarded an Illinois governor’s Hometown Award in 2008 in recognition of the active volunteer spirit in the community.

The local government administration is aggressively encouraging the development of new retail and industrial businesses and has implemented a number of incentive and financing programs to encourage its continued growth. The Village’s Department of Economic Development maintains an updated list of available buildings and land development opportunities. The Village encourages inquiries about site availability and has professional staff at hand to assist your company in finding a home for your business in Wheeling; call 847-459-2605.

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