Executive Briefings

As Companies Relocate to Big Cities, Suburban Towns Are Left Scrambling

In Oak Brook, Illinois, visitors to the McDonald's wooded corporate campus enter on a driveway named for the late chief executive Ray Kroc, then turn onto Ronald Lane before reaching Hamburger University, where more than 80,000 people have been trained as fast-food managers.

As Companies Relocate to Big Cities, Suburban Towns Are Left Scrambling

Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy highway connections, this 86-acre suburban compound adorned with walking paths and duck ponds was for four decades considered the ideal place to attract top executives as the company rose to global dominance.

Now its leafy environs are considered a liability. Locked in a battle with companies of all stripes to woo top tech workers and young professionals, McDonald’s executives announced last year that they were putting the property up for sale and moving to the West Loop of Chicago where “L” trains arrive every few minutes and construction cranes dot the skyline.

In Chicago, McDonald’s will join a slew of other companies — among them food conglomerate Kraft ­Heinz, commodities giant ADM and telecommunications firm Motorola Solutions — all looking to appeal to and be near young professionals versed in the world of e-commerce, software analytics, digital engineering, marketing and finance.

Such relocations are happening across the country as economic opportunities shift to a handful of top cities and jobs become harder to find in some suburbs and smaller cities.

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Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy highway connections, this 86-acre suburban compound adorned with walking paths and duck ponds was for four decades considered the ideal place to attract top executives as the company rose to global dominance.

Now its leafy environs are considered a liability. Locked in a battle with companies of all stripes to woo top tech workers and young professionals, McDonald’s executives announced last year that they were putting the property up for sale and moving to the West Loop of Chicago where “L” trains arrive every few minutes and construction cranes dot the skyline.

In Chicago, McDonald’s will join a slew of other companies — among them food conglomerate Kraft ­Heinz, commodities giant ADM and telecommunications firm Motorola Solutions — all looking to appeal to and be near young professionals versed in the world of e-commerce, software analytics, digital engineering, marketing and finance.

Such relocations are happening across the country as economic opportunities shift to a handful of top cities and jobs become harder to find in some suburbs and smaller cities.

Read Full Article

As Companies Relocate to Big Cities, Suburban Towns Are Left Scrambling