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Beyond the city: why Chicago suburbs are still very much alive

April 19, 2019

Some view life in the suburbs as idyllic with sprawling backyards, no traffic, and chain restaurants galore. But, there’s something happening in the Chicago suburbs where town centers are becoming more dynamic, vibrant and bustling with activity. In fact, while it may seem that most corporations are taking part in “urban migration,” many are recognizing the value in planting their roots in the suburbs where they are surrounded by unique developments, can tap into an attractive talent pool, and are able to provide top-notch employee experiences for a fraction of the cost. 

New developments in the suburbs are largely centered around a live-work-play lifestyle to attract Millennials; a convenient commute and access to entertainment make suburban living appealing to many. One development of note is Water Street in downtown Naperville. It’s near major corporate offices, and residents enjoy access to nightlife, new restaurants, cafes and the Riverwalk. In the same vein, companies that provide an outstanding employee experience, such as upgraded amenities, see success in hiring and retaining top talent. But Millennials aren’t the only group seeking these perks; it’s crucial that companies appeal to all generations of their workforce and consider the nuances associated with each.

Finally, it’s no secret that suburban office space is less expensive than life in Chicago. JLL’s Andrea Van Gelder, senior managing director of suburban tenant representation says, “the city continues to increase exponentially in cost, and the suburbs are becoming more attractive to both employers and their employees.” With an average $21 spread between suburban and office rents and an ever-diversifying workforce this presents unique opportunities for companies looking to move or expand. Consider split operations; rent is more affordable in the suburbs and employees choose the commute that suits them best. Another bonus? This leads to an enhanced employee experience at a fraction of the cost. Currently, 37 companies in Chicagoland split their operations between the city and suburbs, many of which are represented by JLL.

There are many considerations when relocating or opening a new office, but companies shouldn’t discount the suburbs right off the bat. There are advantages to living and working in the suburbs and this trend continues to rise. City and suburban living are different, but for the right company, can be a perfect fit.

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