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Google Reportedly Interested In Merchandise Mart Space

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The Merchandise Mart (Credit: CBS)

The Merchandise Mart (Credit: CBS)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s still not a sure thing, but industry sources say Google is talking about moving its latest acquisition, Motorola Mobility, from the suburbs to the city.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the company appears to be a perfect fit for the mayor’s new economic focus.

Mayor Emanuel has made it clear that he wants to make Chicago a high-tech “mecca.”

The Mayor spoke at a kickoff for Techweek, a conference devoted to the kind of technology startups he clearly covets.

“You guys have the energy. I’m going to be your partner,” he said.

You can just imagine what he’s telling Google, which he visited right after he was elected and is now reportedly negotiating to lease 500,000 square feet of office space in the very same building where he spoke Friday morning, the two-square-block Merchandise Mart. The Mart has become home to a number of high-tech ventures.

Gov. Pat Quinn last year convinced Motorola Mobility to stay in Illinois with a $10 million annual tax break. But Quinn said the deal doesn’t preclude a move to Chicago.

Not surprisingly, Libertyville’s mayor isn’t thrilled with the prospect of the move.

“We’ve been told there’s no decision yet,” Terry Weppler said. “They said they’d meet with us and there’s no meeting set at this time.”

The Crain’s Chicago Business reporter who broke the story agrees it’s not a done deal.

“There aren’t a lot of options in downtown Chicago for that much space and it looks like it’s where it’s headed,” Ryan Ori said.

Crain’s has reported other Merchandise Mart tenants asked to move to make way for a 3-floor-plus roof garden Motorola complex, which would be the largest, but not the first new economy company to relocate here.

No one from the mayor’s office will talk about the possible Motorola move, nor will Google or Motorola.

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