As companies relocate to big cities, smaller towns are left scrambling

“Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy highway connections, McDonald’s 86-acre suburban compound in Oak Brook, Ill., 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,” as the Washington Post is reporting.

“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 giant Kraft ­Heinz, farming supplier 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.

“The migration to urban centers threatens the prosperity outlying suburbs have long enjoyed, bringing a dose of pain felt by rural communities and exacerbating stark gaps in earnings and wealth that Donald Trump capitalized on in winning the presidency.”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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2 Responses to As companies relocate to big cities, smaller towns are left scrambling

  1. Great article Jeff. We have an enormous challenge to retrofit communities to accommodate the employment shifts and the increasing desirability among young workers to locate in urban areas

  2. Steve Willer says:

    After WWII it was the march west to the new suburbs out from the city, that era is over. I grew up right next to that burb in Hillside, close geographically but far away in other ways.

    Back in the 80s and 90s businesses were moving out further from Chicago, to areas like Aurora with lower cost housing prices and get away from urban problems to attract a workforce that wanted to raise kids and have better schools etc. Now they are moving back into the city to attract young professionals, not sure what the housing costs will be if people want to live closer to that workplace. Things sure have changed since the post war era, Chicago is much more attractive for the millennials with both jobs and urban amenities. I can’t blame them, doing yard work is over rated.

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