Walgreens to add 300 jobs to Chicago tech office and expand space

Walgreens to add 300 jobs to Chicago tech office and expand space

The jobs will be a combination of new hires and transferred workers from Walgreen’s headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.

Walgreens has announced plans to double the number of tech workers in its Chicago technology office to 600 up from 300. However, not all of the jobs will be new hires. The company will transfer an unspecified number of workers from Walgreens’ headquarters in the Lake County village of Deerfield, Illinois.

The 116-year old pharmacy chain will also expand its tech office at Chicago’s Sullivan Center. A Walgreens official told the Chicago Tribune that the company was going to expand 20,000 square feet, bringing it to a total of 114,000 square feet.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with Walgreens officials at at the pharmacy chain’s office in downtown Chicago.

“We’re not resting until you leave Deerfield completely,” Emanuel told Walgreens officials, according to the Tribune.

Walgreens now joins a growing list of companies partially or completely moving their white-collar workers to Chicago, including Motorola Solutions, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s and United Airlines – though they often do so with skeleton staffs compared with their old homes.

Growth in the city’s tech sector has come in stark contrast to the exodus of blue-collar opportunities from Chicago.

Walgreens was Deerfield’s largest employer in 2016, employing more than 6,000 workers. The next largest employer, Baxter International, a health care products company, employs 4,000 workers.

If serious, Emanuel’s efforts could be bad news for the small Lake County village of 19,000. Lake County has the highest property taxes in the state and the 21st highest in the whole country. A corporate giant like Walgreens leaving the area could drive up local property tax bills even higher.

Chicago enjoys a number of advantages over Deerfield. In his statements, Emanuel touted the city’s workforce and public transit systems; resources that would make it difficult for a village like Deerfield to compete for tech jobs. Emanuel is also likely trying to flex the Windy City’s muscles for Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. Chicago is considered to be a serious contender for the estimated 50,000 tech jobs HQ2 would bring.

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