Caterpillar will move its global headquarters from Peoria to north suburban Deerfield, choosing not to follow the path of other large companies that have relocated to Chicago.
It’s a decision steeped in irony: The equipment-maker’s future Deerfield home was only available because of another company’s decision to move to Chicago.
Caterpillar will take over the former headquarters of premium spirits maker Beam Suntory, which announced plans last year to move its 450 employees and global headquarters to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, joining corporations including McDonald’s, Motorola Solutions, Kraft Heinz, Wilson Sporting Goods and Conagra Brands that have recently moved or made plans to relocate downtown. Beam Suntory’s move will be completed by the end of June. […]
Most of Caterpillar’s 12,000 Peoria-area employees will not relocate. About 100 will move to the new Deerfield headquarters this year. By mid-2018, Caterpillar expects to have about 300 employees in Deerfield in corporate roles, including executives and other corporate employees in finance, accounting and communications, said spokeswoman Corrie Scott.
Incentives, while they were discussed, did not drive Caterpillar’s decision, said spokeswoman Corrie Scott. The Deerfield site will give employees who are relocating from Peoria as well as future recruits more housing and educational options, while still offering convenient access to the city via commuter rail, she said.
“To our minds, this is kind of the best of both worlds,” she said.
The national media has overstated the trend of corporations moving downtown to chase millennial workers, said John “Jack” Boyd, founder and principal of a namesake site selection firm in Princeton, N.J. Many of those workers are postponing a move to the suburbs, rather than rejecting it. Moreover, as more companies do move downtown, “at some point there’s inflationary cost pressures” that make the market less attractive.
“Suburbs in selected markets are doing very well, thank you, including Deerfield,” he said.