Chicago Gets ADM HQ, But St. Louis IT Center Still Possible
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Archer Daniels Midland Co. announced Wednesday that it will move its global headquarters to Chicago — and not St. Louis — but left the option open to set up a new technology center in another state.
The company will move a small corporate team of about 50-75 employees to Chicago, which is fewer than the 100 originally discussed. It will also not create 100 new jobs that were to come with an accompanying information technology center.
ADM is not receiving any state tax breaks.
Denny Coleman, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, told KMOX News that “we’ll definitely be following up with them about that additional opportunity.”
That opportunity isn’t a complete shot in the dark either. Earlier this month, Boeing announced it will bring 400 engineering jobs to St. Louis County. It’s one of five technology research centers the company will establish across the country. Boeing is also shifting I.T. jobs from Seattle to two sites: St. Louis and South Carolina.
ADM, meantime, is scouting out several alternative sites in several states for the I.T. center, CEO Patricia Woertz said in a statement Wednesday. She said ADM expects to make a decision on that by the middle of next year.
ADM had sought up to $30 million in tax breaks to keep the global headquarters in Illinois. The Illinois Senate and a House committee approved that deal during a special legislative session earlier this month, but the House adjourned without voting on the measure.
Business leaders and some lawmakers feared the lack of action would frustrate ADM and send the company out of state. But House Speaker Michael Madigan criticized ADM and other companies for seeking the incentives. The powerful Chicago Democrat also said he was unlikely to support perks for companies that pay little in taxes.
Chicago, their ‘preferred location’
St. Louis’ Coleman said he was not surprised that Chicago landed ADM’s global headquarters.
That decision by ADM was mostly based on the city’s proximity to two international airports and other big-city amenities. O’Hare International Airport boasts daily non-stop flights to 57 international cities and 140 U.S. cities.
“We have operations, employees, customers and business partners all over the world. We have to be able to travel and work with them easily,” ADM spokeswoman Victoria Podesta said.
She also added Chicago’s general proximity to Decatur was a big plus. ADM plans to keep about 4,400 jobs in Decatur, where it’s been headquartered for 44 years, and make that city its North American headquarters.
Coleman noted that many of ADM’s employees in Decatur actually fly out of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for business travel.
ADM has about 30,000 employees worldwide.
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