Mead Johnson Nutrition’s decision to move to downtown Chicago is proof that city and state subsidies are not needed to attract big business into Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois, March 31 2015: Chicago is a city that is business friendly. Previously, this friendliness extended to massive subsidies from tax-payers pockets to attract companies like Boeing and United Continental to locate headquarters here.

Mead Johnson is the latest in a growing group of organizations that have decided to move their headquarters to downtown Chicago, without the lure of handouts or subsidies. These include Archer Daniels Midland’s relocation in 2014 and, of course, the expansion of Google’s Chicago offices.

A Mead Johnson spokesperson said that the company hadn’t even considered other options, and that Chicago provides everything a company would want for its headquarters:

  • Ready access to key agencies and service providers
  • Attractive, world-class amenities for employees and global visitors
  • The availability of a wide range of public transportation options, including direct, efficient airport access
  • A deep and diverse talent pool

Chicago is more business friendly than most cities in the country, but this is not the only reason that the city has stopped giving handouts to big corporations. In the current economic environment, mergers and acquisitions is big business, and a company that has been subsidized to move can quickly be bought and disappear, along with the taxpayers’ money that subsidized the property deal. Two companies that have benefitted from such a subsidy and then quickly been bought-out are Hillshire Brands and Motorola. It appears that the Chicago city government has decided not to throw taxpayers’ money at such relocation deals again.

The current penchant for corporate relocation into Chicago is good news for all. More businesses will increase the number and diversity of available jobs, attract further inward investment, and boost city tax revenues.

All of these consequences are good news for the local economy, Chicago’s inhabitants, and property investors. With more jobs comes the need for more housing. Rental incomes, already increasing, are likely to push higher with increased demand, as are property prices which, in some suburbs, have already recovered their pre-recession lows.

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