When Japanese global supply chain company CADDi started searching for the ideal location for a new office in the United States, they wanted to find the perfect place to “unleash the power of manufacturing the most,”  Michael Hashimoto, CADDi’s technical sales director in Chicago, told Site Selection Magazine.

The company conducted research to find somewhere with a large manufacturing talent pool and a reliable international transportation system. Chicago emerged as the winner, satisfying both criteria.

That’s just one example illustrating the draw the Chicago area has for corporations and investors. Site Selection, an international business publication focused on corporate real estate and economic development, recently named Chicagoland the No. 1 metro area for corporate facility investment with 448 total projects (i.e., expansions and relocations). It was the area’s 10th consecutive year of earning the honor.

“If winning back-to-back championships establishes dynasties, what do you call it when you win 10 years in a row?” Site Selection Managing Editor Adam Burns wrote on the publication’s website. “In Chicagoland, they hand the ball to the ref and they act like they’ve been there before. Because they have.”

With so many corporations looking to expand and relocate in the region, Chicago is consistently one of the best cities for real estate investment. Here are some of the top factors that fuel the Chicago metro area’s popularity with investors.

1. Economic strength and expected growth.

The Chicago area has a robust and expanding economy. In 2022, adjusted for inflation, the city’s nominal gross domestic product grew by 3.41 percent compared to 2021, reaching approximately $833 billion, according to the economic development agency World Business Chicago. Additionally, 44 businesses opened new locations, and 136 expanded within the city last year.

World Business Chicago also reported that the city also has a substantial talent pool, boasting the third largest workforce in the U.S., with 4.7 million employed in 2022. Last year, the city added more than 26,000 jobs while unemployment dropped by 42,000.

2. Convenient central location.

Chicago’s centralized orientation in the United States makes it an appealing spot for corporations to put down roots and drives economic growth, according to CoStar. The city serves as a logistical hub for many companies in manufacturing, trucking, and storage due to the numerous highways and railroads that facilitate freight transportation to the rest of the country.

Cook county has 816 miles of freight railroad, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Additionally, 2,185 interstate miles serve the state of Illinois, making it home to over 7,200 trucking companies, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

3. International transportation and trade systems.

O’Hare International Airport is the country’s leading port by value, according to World Business Chicago. In 2022, this bustling hub saw $330 billion in trade, up $25 billion from 2021. The airport facilitates global imports and exports, adding to the Chicago area’s appeal for large companies.

4. Top universities.

Chicago is home to prominent schools such as Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. This adds to the local educated talent pool and contributes to the city’s appeal as one of the top places for commercial real estate investment, according to CoStar.

If you’d like to learn more about Chicago commercial real estate, the Avalon Realty Associates team can assist you. Visit our contact us page, call us at 847-506-1000, or email info@avalonreal.com  for information about our commercial real estate services.