Sara Lee Corp. Chooses Chicago as Home of the New American Meats Co.

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor The Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee Corp. will relocate its new North American Meats corporate headquarters in 2013 to Chicago’s 400 S. Jefferson Street, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced. Sara Lee Corp. announced earlier this year that [...]

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee Corp. will relocate its new North American Meats corporate headquarters in 2013 to Chicago’s 400 S. Jefferson Street, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced.

Sara Lee Corp. announced earlier this year that in the first half of calendar year 2012 it will split into two publicly traded companies: an International Coffee and Tea business—which is expected to be headquartered in Europe—and North American Meats company.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the company is expected to relocate between 500 and 650 employees to the city, representing almost half of the estimated 1,000 it had in the area in January. Mayor Emanuel said it was a huge win for the City of Chicago, as the company will bring high-paying jobs as well as leadership in a key sector.

Upon approval from the Community Development Commission and City Council, Sara Lee will receive between $5 million and $6.5 million in TIF assistance. The incentive is based on the number of jobs created.

The company will invest in the new headquarters and will focus on achieving sustainability standards targeting LEED certification. Sara Lee hopes that a new industry cluster, focused on food-related companies, will form in Chicago and plans to collaborate with the city to encourage other similar-profile companies to relocate to Chicago.

For over 60 years the company was based in Chicago, before moving to Downers Grove in 2005. The decision to return to the city seems to be part of a trend as companies opt for workers who want to live and work in the city, to the detriment of the cost-effectiveness of the suburbs.

Photo Courtesy of: SaraLee.com