Calling BP Amoco home, urbanism is

Chicago's newspapers hit the streets today (May 6) with -- among the usual hyperbole and pabulum -- a story to warm the cockles of any new urbanist's heart. BP Amoco announced it will move 1,000 to 1,200 jobs from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago.

The Sun-Times and Tribune both note the oil giant will shift jobs from Naperville and Warrenville to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on South Wacker Drive. But the Sun-Times story misses a key angle that the Tribune didn't:

"Sources familiar with the latest developments say BP is moving jobs back downtown to accommodate the desires of its workers. Many of the workers are younger and want an urban environment, said one person familiar with the decision.

"The Wacker location is walking distance from rental housing and condos that have sprouted in the West Loop and not far from an increasing number of restaurants and entertainment venues."

Score one for the Good Side of the Force!

Of historical irony, the Aon Building, on the northern edge of Grant Park, began as the Standard Oil Building back in the early 1970s. It was Chicago's tallest building until 1974, when the Sears Tower was completed.

(P.S. Apologies, of course, to Mr. Sinatra.)

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paytonc's picture

Many downtowns have been

Many downtowns have been gaining "market share" of the overall metro office market for the past few years, including DC, NYC, and Chicago, the nation's largest downtown office markets. Many tenants are finding that downtown is once again the one place that's easy for everyone to get to.

BP has even shifted many jobs from other cities to Chicago due to the caliber of employees here. They've joined corporations like Boeing, CDW, Motorola, and United Airlines in moving downtown, since only downtown offers employees the opportunity to take transit or to walk to work -- and that's evidently worth the 30% rental premium.

Three-quarters of downtown executives surveyed in 2002 cited transit access as the #1 reason why they have offices downtown. And yet Illinois' leaders can't seem take a firm stance on whether transit is worth the investment!

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