Big corporations are leaving Chicago, and some cite rising crime as a reason – NBC Chicago

In recent months, three major corporations have announced that they are moving their headquarters out of the Chicago area – and the latest cited rising crime in the city as one of the main reasons for its departure.

In a letter to employees on Thursday, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin – the richest man in Illinois – announced that after more than 30 years in Chicago, his investment firm Citadel would be moving to Miami.

“Miami is a vibrant and growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream,” the letter read.

The letter goes on to say that while many employees have deep ties to Illinois, “many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world,” the letter states.

“We recognize that choosing where to call home involves personal, family, school and other considerations, and we will provide comprehensive support to meet the needs of our teams.”

Citadel, currently headquartered in the Loop at 131 South Dearborn Street, is in an area that has seen a wave of violent crime in recent months, including fatal shootings, violent armed robberies and hijackings. car.

Earlier this year, Griffin warned he was considering leaving Chicago because of the violence and said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, “If people aren’t safe here, they won’t live here.” he declared.

“I have had several colleagues attacked at gunpoint. I had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless burglary problems. I mean, it’s a really tough backdrop from which to attract talent to your city.

With a net worth estimated by Forbes at over $25 billion, Griffin is Chicago’s top philanthropist.

He has donated approximately $600 million to local causes, including the Lakefront Trail, the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Shedd Aquarium. Griffin has also been noted for his heavy spending on politicians, including paying $45 million to Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin.

The move follows similar recent announcements from other major companies, as well as grocery stores, with some specifically citing increased crime and violence as a key consideration in the decision.

Here is a breakdown:

Boeing leaving Chicago

Boeing, which moved from Seattle to West Loop in 2001, announced last May that it would move its headquarters out of the city and to Arlington, Virginia.

“We are excited to build on our foundation here in Northern Virginia,” Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement. “The region makes strategic sense for our global headquarters given its proximity to our customers and stakeholders, and its access to world-class technical and engineering talent.”

Caterpillar leaving Deerfield

Earlier this month, construction manufacturing giant Caterpillar, which in 2017 moved its headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield, said it was moving that office to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“We believe it is in the company’s strategic interest to make this decision, which supports Caterpillar’s profitable growth strategy as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” said Jim Umpleby. , CEO of Caterpillar, in a statement.

Groceries leaving town

An Aldi store on Chicago’s South Side, in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, abruptly closed this week, with shuttered doors and shuttered signage.

In a statement, Aldi said the store closure was based on increasing cases of theft on site, as well as declining sales.

“Our decision was based on several factors, including repeated break-ins and declining sales,” the company said. “Out of concern for our employees and our customers…keeping this store open was no longer a sustainable option.”

And, earlier this year, a few miles away, Whole Foods announced it would be closing its Englewood store after opening just six years ago.

“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly assess the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a doorman said. -word of Whole Foods.

Of the six stores Whole Foods said it would close, two are in Chicago.

What the officials say

On Thursday, Irvin released a statement about the Citadel move and attacked Democratic Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, saying he “is either in total denial or simply refuses to acknowledge what everyone is seeing, namely, that its pro-criminal, high-tax administration is literally driving jobs and businesses out of state.In the last month alone, Illinois has lost Boeing, Caterpillar and now Citadel.

Pritzker also released a statement on the moves, saying “countless companies are calling Illinois home as we continue to lead the country in corporate relocations and have seen a record number of start-ups. businesses over the past year.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also addressed the decision, saying in a statement, “We thank the Citadel team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, particularly in the areas of education, arts and culture and public safety. We know their story would not be possible without the great strengths of our city.”

Additionally, in the past week, two other major companies, Kellogg and Abbot, have increased their engagement and presence in Chicago.

Citadel’s move is expected to take several years. The companies have more than 1,000 employees in Chicago and while some are expected to stay, it’s unclear how many.

NBC Chicago

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