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Motorola To Shift 3,000 Jobs From Suburb To Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

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The Merchandise Mart (Credit: CBS)

The Merchandise Mart (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – News became official Thursday that Mayor Emanuel’s administration landed its biggest catch yet: 3,000 high-tech jobs.

Google will move its Motorola cell phone unit from suburban Libertyville to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart next summer.

Emanuel tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine the move is an “economic game-changer.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“The smart phone industry is a $300 billion industry and growing, the fastest growing part of the tech space,” the mayor said. “The world’s going mobile. We’re going to have a corporate headquarters, with its research and engineering and design, based here in the city of Chicago. A huge amount of other startup companies will come here because of that.”

Motorola says a quarter of all those working in its current Libertyville complex already live in Chicago. They got the word Thursday just before leaving, though rumors surfaced back in May that its new owners, Google, was shopping for space in Chicago.

“I understand Motorola’s concern. What they’re looking for is, they’re looking for the young, up-and-coming, just-out-college worker, and those are the type of people that want to live in the city,” says Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler.

Weppler has been promised help finding a new tenant and new jobs for the Libertyville complex from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who had to sign off on the move to continue a state subsidy he’d promised Motorola last year to stay in Illinois. Quinn and Motorola will also provide aid to workers who want to relocate or commute to Chicago.

Motorola signed a 15-year lease for a huge chunk of space at the Mart: 600,000 square feet on four floors, plus a rooftop garden, in a building long known for fixture and furniture showrooms.

“Illinois is Motorola Mobility’s home, and we’re thrilled to bring our employees to downtown Chicago and infuse our company with the vibrant energy of the city,” Dennis Woodside, CEO, Motorola Mobility, said in a prepared statement. “We’re 84 years young, and what better place to continue our commitment to the state, honor our heritage, recruit top talent and usher in a new era of wireless innovation than in the historic Merchandise Mart.”

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