To Attract Young Talent, Major Companies Move From Suburbs To Cities

A recent report found that 245 companies of various sizes relocated from a suburban area

August 3, 2017
McDonald's recently moved its corporate headquarters from suburban Oak Brook, Ill., to the West Loop in Chicago

Though Hartford is known as the Insurance Capital of the World, the health insurance giant Aetna recently announced it would move from the Connecticut metro to New York City.

Corporations across the country are relocating from suburbs and smaller cities to major urban cores, according to Curbed. The strategy is to build innovative campuses and headquarters in walkable settings that appeal to rising talent: Millennials.

Motorola, GE, and McDonald’s are among the companies that have moved downtown. A new Core Values report found that 245 companies, a range from Fortune 500 giants, to tech startups, to small businesses, had recently relocated from a suburban area.

A spokesman for Rolls-Royce, which recently spent $600 million on its Indianapolis facility, said its old headquarters was a recruitment liability. The engine maker’s new employees and engineers “aren’t looking for suburbia. They’re looking for the downtown living environment.”

Suburbs face an uphill battle in keeping their corporations, but it’s not impossible. Millennials may love city-living now, but as their careers progress and as they get married and have kids, a suburban lifestyle might be a better fit. Suburbs are starting to build more mixed-use developments and incorporate walkable features into their city plans. That could keep young adults in town, and influence companies to keep their headquarters outside of the cities.

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