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Corporations wooed by Chicago millennials

by Kelly McCabe

It used to be that post-college, people strove for suburban living, where they could easily afford more space and vehicles, allowing them to be more mobile. But today, that age group is increasingly attracted to urban cores, thanks to their walkability, and corporations are taking note.

A recent report from TreppTalk found that large companies that once were attracted to the suburbs, where there’s ample space for sprawling corporate campuses, are now relocating to urban centers in an effort to attract millennial talent.  The report found that in 2016, suburban securizations accounted for 34.1 percent of total office issuance, a number that dropped this year to 26.4 percent.

A number of corporations in the suburbs of Chicago are refocusing their future growth plans to the city proper, including McDonald’s. The headquarters of the fast-food giant will soon move from a sleepy suburb to a 608,000-square-foot building on the former site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.

The shortcomings of millennials have been documented to death: they’re self-absorbed, they’re completely dependent on their devices and social media accounts, they hold onto jobs barely long enough to learn where the restrooms are.

But millennials also are formidable, numbering about 80 million in the United States, and educated: About 21 percent of millennial men and 27 percent of women are on track to have earned a bachelor’s degree, which is the highest percentage to date, according to Pew Research Center.

A recent Forbes analysis showed that nationally, 33 of the largest cities in the United States added 1.52 educated millennials for every one added to the surrounding suburbs.

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