Gogo to move headquarters from suburban Itasca to downtown Chicago
October 30, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A suburban company is relocating its headquarters to Chicago. It's an economic shot in the arm for the city, but what does it mean for the overall state economy?
The fact that Gogo Corporation is moving to Chicago from the northwest suburbs will not make any difference in the state or region's sky-high unemployment rate.
After touring Gogo Corporation's new headquarters on Canal Street, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and company bosses explained that Chicago was selected over Denver because of the transportation system and workforce here.
"We're near great universities. This is the place we can build the world class organization," said Michael Small, CEO, Gogo.
"It gives a vote of confidence that we're a city on the move, a city that people want to invest in and they see their growth with the city's growth happening," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Gogo is the world leader providing internet access on aircraft. Its nearly 500 headquarters employees are currently based in northwest suburban Itasca.
"They've been a good corporate partner for here and on the good side they're staying in Illinois," said Jeff Pruyn, Itasca mayor.
"This is not economic progress," said John Tillman, Illinois Policy Institute.
Illinois Policy Institute's John Tillman notes the Gogo move will not affect the region's or the state's second highest in the nation jobless rate, and will do little for chronic unemployment on Chicago's South and West Sides.
"The fact that we had 200,000 African-Americans leave this city over the last ten years is a sign that we're not making progress and that the city is failing people in terms of opportunity, education and public safety," said Tillman.
"It's not downtown versus our neighborhoods because we're one city," said Mayor Emanuel.
In September the mayor announced state incentives for Power Construction Company to move 200 headquarters jobs from Schaumburg to Chicago. He said the jobs competition these days is not about the city versus the suburbs.
"Here, it wasn't Itasca versus Chicago, it was Denver versus Chicago," said Mayor Emanuel.
Gogo will be given tax increment financing credits based on the number of local people the company hires beyond its 500 current employees. The company projects it eventually will grow to over 1,000 workers and rented enough space to accommodate that many.
politics, charles thomas
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