In Chicago’s Suburbs, Developers are Rethinking Everything

DuPage Business Beat Podcast

DuPage Business Beat | Podcast Episode 1

COVID changed the way millions of people work. Now, its aftershocks are pushing developers and communities across Chicagoland to think creatively about how they use their space.

In this episode, host Greg Bedalov meets with two real estate industry experts to discuss the stories behind key trends in employment, industry sectors, the regional GDP, and more. From the ‘amenities race’ to innovative mixed-use developments, Greg and his guests cover the topics that impact people and businesses across the region. 

Guests: Jim Adler and Mark Moran, Executive Vice Presidents of Chicago-based brokerage firm NAI Hiffman

Host: Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage

Dive Deeper:

A special thanks to College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. Stay tuned for more episodes of the DuPage Business Beat.

New retail and office leases secured at Naperville’s CityGate Centre

Naperville office lease

Calamos Real Estate LLC recently announced it has entered into two new lease agreements, one each for retail and office at CityGate Centre in Naperville.

Apotheco Pharmacy Group will open its newest retail location leasing 3,740 square feet at 2155 CityGate Ln., bringing the 54,479 square-foot retail building to 90 percent occupancy. The lease, brokered by Frontline Real Estate Partners for Apotheco and Calamos Real Estate for CityGate Centre, will commence July 1, 2023, for a 10-year term. Warren Johnson Architects, Inc., will design the space which is projected to open in late summer.

With locations in 15 states including an existing Illinois location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Apotheco is a dermatologic pharmacy; it keeps a fully stocked, extensive inventory of dermatology medications frequently used to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, wound care and more. While its pharmacists are highly specialized in dermatological medications, they are fully licensed to fill other prescribed medications and will order as needed, making it a welcome amenity for residents of Domain CityGate, the new, 285-unit luxury apartment building that opened at CityGate Centre fall 2022, other area residents and employees of CityGate Centre’s commercial tenants.

“Beyond the convenience it offers those who live and work here and nearby, Apotheco makes a lot of sense at CityGate Centre,” said Calamos Real Estate Vice President Chris Landis. “As home to two leading dermatology practices— Oak Dermatology and Duly Health & Care—it’s a smart choice for this highly specialized, yet full-service, pharmacy to open its west suburban location at CityGate Centre.”

In another separate transaction, Elequin Capital, a capital investments firm founded in 2019 by Pete Guiterrez and headquartered in midtown Manhattan, has leased 2,628 square feet of ready-to-use office at 2135 CityGate Ln. The lease, which brings the Class A building to more than 86 percent occupancy, will commence April 1.

At CityGate Centre, the best attributes of an urban neighborhood – walkable access to fine dining along with casual fare; green space; a Forbes-rated, AAA Four Diamond hotel; healthcare, spa & fitness facilities; new, luxury apartments; and easy access via the state and interstate highway systems – and the Illinois Prairie Path – are together in a pristine, suburban setting. The mixed-use campus provides ample parking, food options, workout facilities and more that both commercial and residential tenants are looking for.

Calamos Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of Calamos Property Holdings LLC, is focused on real estate activities throughout the United States, including acquisitions, development opportunities and joint ventures. The firm’s flagship development, CityGate Centre in Naperville, is a unique mixed-use development offering superior leasing opportunities for corporate and commercial tenants, as well as property management services of the highest caliber.

Chicago Region Named Top Metro in the U.S. for Business, 10th Consecutive Year

Business Relocation

Site Selection Magazine has named the Chicago region the Top Metro in the U.S. for corporate relocation and site selection, for the tenth consecutive year. News of the Chicago region’s Top Metro rank for 10 consecutive years was announced at an event this month, where World Business Chicago convened city and regional leaders with companies that made pro-Chicago decisions in 2022.

Site Selection Magazine reports that the Chicagoland metro area saw a record number of new and expanding corporate locations, more than any other region in the country. “If winning multiple championships establishes dynasties, what do you call it when you win ten years in a row?” asks Site Selection Managing Editor Adam Bruns. “In Chicagoland, they hand the ball back to the ref and act like they’ve been there before. Because they have. Our project data tell us the metro area continues to attract companies and the talent those companies covet. Led by World Business Chicago, the newly formed Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership and most of all by talented professionals, workers and business leaders, the region continues to meet its challenges with creative solutions, bold programs and the sort of candor and openness that’s almost a Chicago brand.”

2022 Top Metros Ranking

Major companies such as Mars Wrigley, Kellogg’s, Google, BMO, EeroQ, Bartesian, New Cold, and Lion Electric are among those that have recently expanded or relocated to Chicago in 2022, contributing to the economy and bringing substantial investments, job growth, and new opportunities to the region. The region’s ongoing efforts to create a dynamic and welcoming business environment, along with its commitment to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth that benefits all residents, have helped to maintain its status as the top metro for corporate investment in the US.

The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership promotes the region as a powerhouse with a well-established infrastructure, deeply rooted industries, and a robust network of businesses. With its exceptional connectivity, the region is uniquely positioned to weather economic challenges. The greater Chicagoland region is now home to a thriving startup ecosystem, bolstered by a growth capital network, driven by innovation and technology. These newly emerging and accelerated ecosystems are set to propel the region towards an even brighter economic future.

About the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership

The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership (GCEP), a first-of-its-kind united effort including the City of ChicagoCook County, and six counties across metropolitan Chicago, is driving a regional economic strategy intended to deliver mutual benefits to the partners, and strengthen the greater Chicagoland region’s economic force in an increasingly fierce competitive global market.  The GCEP is focused on promoting the region’s many assets, including extensive freight infrastructure, diverse talent, strong exporting industries, and world-class institutions of innovation, research, and culture as its competitive global identity.

Illinois Ranks #2 State in the Nation for Corporate Investment

Corporate investment
Site Selection Magazine – an international industry-leading business publication — released its annual corporate expansion and relocation rankings, naming Illinois 2nd in the nation for corporate projects and Chicago the Top Metro for the 10th year in a row. The publication noted 487 Illinois projects in 2022, moving the state up from the number three spot in the previous year’s rankings.
“Illinois is open for business and leading the way as one of the top 10 states for corporate investment, with Chicago named the number one metro for the 10th year in a row,” said Governor Pritzker. “Thanks to our nation-leading infrastructure revitalization, talented workforce, and growing economy, Illinois is the best place to do business.”
The issue also named the Chicago metropolitan area as the Top Metro for corporate investment for the 10th straight year. With a growing reputation as a tech hub with Google’s purchase of the Thompson Center and new headquarters moving in, such as Kellogg, Chicago continues to bolster its reputation as a global powerhouse.
“Illinois is the best state to live, work and do business and under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, we’ve reached unprecedented fiscal health, surpassed $1 trillion GDP for the first time and continue to create jobs and grow our economy,” said Acting DCEO Director Kristin A. Richards. “We’re proud to have nearly 500 corporate investments in 2022 and looking ahead, we are doubling down on our business attraction and retention efforts to support economic development in every corner of the state.”
The State of Illinois has created an environment where companies can thrive through unprecedented investments in our infrastructure and our workforce, while also developing cutting edge programs that bring economic growth and jobs to the state. Illinois recently launched a $400 million invest in Illinois fund to attract large businesses and stay competitive with other states, expanded incentives for the clean energy industry, and made it easier for companies to apply for EDGE – the state’s primary incentive program.
The state also announced $40 million in grants to supercharge the development of megasites – large, developed sites ready for occupancy for manufacturers, distribution centers, industrial centers, and more. These grants will increase the number of investment-ready sites in Illinois and increase the state’s competitiveness for large-scale projects.
Companies that located or expanded throughout Illinois in 2022 include:
  • CyrusOne Data Center – $250 million facility located in Aurora
  • Ferrero – Bloomington manufacturing facility; $214.4 million investment and 200 jobs
  • GAF Commercial Roofing – Peru manufacturing plant; $80 million investment and 70 jobs
  • LG Chem/ADM – two new joint ventures in Decatur; 125 jobs
  • Ollie’s Bargain Outlet – Princeton distribution center; $68 million investment and 145 jobs
  • Prime Data Centers – New $1 billion data center in Elk Grove Village
  • T/CCI – Decatur retooling for EV component manufacturing; $20 million investment and 50 jobs
  • Tyson Foods – Caseyville manufacturing facility expansion, $180 million investment and 400 jobs
Similarly, the State of Illinois – which was recently named the top state in the Midwest for Workforce development by Site Selection – has made unprecedented investments in training programs and workforce facilities, including Manufacturing Training Academies, Illinois Works pre-apprenticeship programs, and nearly $180 million annually for clean energy jobs training and community support efforts under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).
“Site Selection’s ranking of top states for business attraction validates that we are on the right track,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “Illinois has the talent, infrastructure, central location and some of the most competitive tools needed to attract major job creators to the state and companies are noticing.”
“Illinois’ performance improved in both categories of project counts this year – from third place to second in total projects and from seventh to fourth in projects per capita,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “This will signal to readers that Illinois is an attractive and effective location for establishing and expanding operations.”
Site Selection’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” To qualify, projects must meet one or more of these criteria: investment of $1M or more, creation of 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 sq. ft. or more of new space.

Merkur is Giving Chicagoland Manufacturers an Upgrade

business feature merkur
Canadian engineering firm Merkur recently opened an office in Downers Grove, Illinois. Now, they’re working with longtime client Lion Electric – a zero-emissions vehicle manufacturer in nearby Joliet – as well as other Chicagoland businesses, to improve their efficiency and help them compete in a dynamic global market. Let’s take a look at what factors attracted Merkur to DuPage and how they’re helping shape the region’s future. 

Merkur was looking for the next big thing.

For nearly 30 years, the Quebec, Canada-based engineering firm had partnered with manufacturers across North America. During that time, they built a reputation as the “brains of the industry,” helping their clients upgrade systems, eliminate bottlenecks, develop new products, and build strategies that help businesses stay competitive.

From the very beginning, one of Merkur’s differentiators was their focus on implementation—the art of getting stuff done. While other engineering firms may provide helpful information, Merkur takes it a step further, working directly with clients to put their plans into action. Got a bottleneck that’s slowing down your factory? They identify the problem, tell you how to fix it, then work with you to make it happen. Going electric? They develop a plan to modify your assembly line and solve various logistical challenges, like sourcing and storing batteries. Then, they help you put that plan into action.

To put it another way, Merkur’s business is all about evolution: evolving products, assembly lines and entire businesses.

So when it came time to evolve their own company, they were ready.  

In 2021, the firm decided to open a second location. At the time, change was sweeping through the manufacturing industry; the technology was evolving, the supply chain was reorganizing, and the Electric Vehicles (EV) sector was revving up its engines. While Merkur’s portfolio had grown in recent years, they saw an opportunity to expand into new markets and help lead manufacturers through times of big, fast change. For decades, they helped Quebec’s manufacturing industry evolve; now, they were ready to bring their expertise to a new market.

But first, they had to choose the right location. And as they began weighing their options, they found a (literal) world of possibilities.

A Global Search

As they began their search for a second office location, Merkur kept an open mind. They considered places around the world, from Ontario to France. From the outset, they wanted their new office to focus on their core business: manufacturing’s transportation sector, the making of buses, ambulances, trucks, trains and ATVs. Whatever location they chose, it would have to be a place where this industry had a bright future.

“And then an opportunity came along,” said Jonathan Levesque, Merkur’s Director of Business Development and USA Market. “That’s often how life works, isn’t it? You prepare, you get ready for your next big move, and then something shows up.

“What showed up, of course, was Lion Electric.”

Follow the Leader

Lion Electric Chicagoland

Also based in Quebec, Lion Electric manufactures zero-emissions vehicles like school buses and urban trucks. For years, Merkur had partnered with Lion to improve their Canadian manufacturing plant and assist in product design.

One day, when Merkur was in the middle of their search for a second location, they received a call from their longtime client. As it turned out, Lion Electric was also looking to expand into a new market. Their search had brought them to Northern Illinois, the heart of the U.S. manufacturing industry and an epicenter of the growing EV sector. Lion planned to build a new headquarters in Joliet, a 900,000-square foot facility that would produce up to 20,000 electric vehicles each year.

They were building the future in Chicagoland, and they wanted Merkur to join them.  

The “Sweet Spot”

Working with Choose DuPage, which provided data and analysis on local market conditions, the Merkur team took an in-depth look at Northern Illinois’ manufacturing sector.

Jonathan Levesque Merkur
Jonathan Levesque, Merkur’s Director of Business Development and USA Market

“We quickly discovered there’s a lot of similarity between Quebec and Chicagoland,” Jonathan said. “There are many manufacturers here that fall within our core business. In fact, there are more in Chicagoland than the entire province of Quebec.”

In the Chicagoland region, manufacturing roots run deep. As a result, the market is a mix of new, ‘greenfield’ factories, like Lion Electric’s Joliet facility, and legacy manufacturers that have been operating in the region for decades. Merkur saw an opportunity to do business with both.

“Chicagoland really is the sweet spot,” said Dan Krohn, Business Development Manager at Merkur. “On the one hand, we’re very interested in the shiny new facilities. We want to be on the front end of planning those factories.

Dan Krohn Merkur
Dan Krohn, Business Development Manager at Merkur

“On the other, you have all these third-generation, fourth-generation businesses in the Chicago area. They’ve evolved, they’ve grown. But maybe they haven’t grown with the most focused strategy, and now their facilities need a little engineering love. We can step in and help them with a five-year plan to restructure the layout, fix bottlenecks, whatever they need.

“The one thing all manufacturers have in common is that they continually need to improve their flow and become more efficient. We can help anybody do that, whether their factory is brand-new, very old, or somewhere in between.”

“There’s Something Happening Here”

In 2021, Merkur opened their new office in Downers Grove, Illinois. From here, the firm is a short drive from their client Lion Electric in Joliet, as well as hundreds of potential clients across the Northern Illinois region. Merkur is in the “sweet spot,” a place where they can continue serving a key legacy client while expanding their portfolio amid a growing market.

The firm sees a bright future for the region, and they plan to be a part of it. Between Chicagoland’s legacy as a manufacturing powerhouse and its ability to attract top talent, the region is a global manufacturing leader, and it’s already setting the stage for the industry’s future. 

Competition from other regions will be fierce, but part of Merkur’s role is to help local manufacturers adapt, upgrade and stay competitive at a global level. And that’s a good thing for Chicagoland. When Merkur helps local businesses function better and be more profitable, those businesses are more likely to continue bringing jobs and investment to the local community, while encouraging others to do the same.

For Merkur, one of the region’s most exciting aspects is its fast-growing EV sector. The firm saw how the industry transformed Quebec; now, they’re experiencing the beginning of a similar phenomenon in Northern Illinois.

“Every single customer that’s on rails or wheels is going electric, or at least talking about it. All of them,” Jonathan said.

“Seeing that Lion was moving to Illinois, along with Rivian and others, is exciting for us. We can feel there’s something happening here. We’ve been a part of it in Quebec, and now we’re part of it here in Chicagoland.”

Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership Drives Regional Economic Development Collaboration

Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership

DuPage County has joined together with Cook, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, Lake, and Will Counties and the City of Chicago in an innovative partnership to drive economic growth and advance equity across the region. The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership will focus on promoting the region’s assets – including extensive freight infrastructure, diverse talent, strong exporting industries, world-class research institutions, and culture to develop an identity that can compete on a global scale.

World Business Chicago manages the Partnership, and Greg Bedalov, President & CEO of Choose DuPage will serve as Chair of the Board of Directors.

“The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership is one of the largest advancements in our collective economic history,” said Greg Bedalov. “Thank you to the many private- and public-sector leaders that have long advocated in favor of regional collaboration. As President & CEO of Choose DuPage, I’ve always said that a strong region is what’s best for a strong DuPage. I look forward to the opportunities this partnership will bring to all our communities and will continue to share updates on our progress.”

The Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership Statement of Collaboration

We acknowledge that our northeastern Illinois region — including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties as well as the city of Chicago — is interconnected and interdependent. We believe that the region can achieve more to strengthen jobs and capital investment by working together than any one community can on its own. We know that the region’s extensive assets offer significant opportunities to provide shared prosperity across different and diverse communities. And we recognize that joint action can ensure robust, equitable economic growth by building a globally competitive ecosystem that works for everyone, with world-class transportation infrastructure, economic sectors, talent, and innovation.

Wishing to enter a new era of regional cooperation, we join together to make the following commitments, with the goal of facilitating activities that better take advantage of our shared opportunities and complement our unique interests:

  • As a forum for local government leadership, we will engage corporate, civic, and institutional partners to leverage our combined strengths and implement approved joint plans for the benefit of the region.
  • We will enlist federal and state governments to play key roles as partners and funders of regional initiatives in coordination with existing agencies and activities.
  • We will improve our inter-jurisdictional and inter-agency communication to share all information as is necessary and prudent to create efficient and effective opportunities for collaboration.
  • We will develop methods and resources for deliberate action that advances the region, with an emphasis on the needs of marginalized communities and the potential to enhance our global economic competitiveness.
  • We will set the highest standards of professional conduct, trust, and integrity for ourselves, our staffs, and our partners to maximize regional benefits for public expenditures.
  • We will evaluate both the overall economic progress of the entire region as well as individual communities as we measure success.

Start Your Engines: Northern Illinois Emerges as an EV Powerhouse

electric vehicles

Northern Illinois has long been a leader of science, technology and advanced manufacturing. Now, those fields are coming together to drive the region’s electric-vehicle (EV) ecosystem—a growing network of communities, manufacturers, institutions and suppliers dedicated to all things EV.  

The result is a win-win: an influx of jobs and investment for the region and an emerging powerhouse committed to building the future of sustainable technology.

Charged Up: Welcome to the EV Ecosystem

Governments and businesses around the world have committed to reducing carbon emissions and investing in more sustainable technologies. That includes Illinois, where the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act has the state on the road to 100% clean energy by 2045.

To deliver on these commitments and create a cleaner, more sustainable future, communities must reduce their reliance on fossil fuel-burning automotives. (The EPA estimates that transportation accounts for about 27% of U.S. emissions.) That means alternatives, such as EVs, must be made widely available.  

While a small portion of Americans currently drive electric vehicles, making EVs affordable and available to the majority of the country will require mass production, as well as investments in a new infrastructure to support EVs and advancements in the technologies that power them. EVs are coming, but first we must solve a massive logistical puzzle.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Illinois, where an ‘EV ecosystem’ has emerged to fuel the development and production of EVs. This ecosystem consists of six major factors:

  1. The regional supply chain, including businesses that manufacture EVs, batteries, semiconductors and other related technologies. Illinois is the fourth-largest auto employment base in the U.S., the #2 location for battery manufacturers, and #4 in number of locations that manufacture non-battery EV components.
  2. The policies that support EV-related investments, including subsidies, rebates and incentives through the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act and the Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act. In Illinois, there are currently more than $70 million in capital funds earmarked for EV infrastructure projects.
  3. The research institutions that advance the economic and scientific development of the EV field. Two of the 17 U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories are located in the heart of Northern Illinois, DuPage County: Argonne and Fermilab. Argonne alone receives $1 billion in annual funding to advance U.S. battery research and manufacturing, as well as research into the EV-adjacent fields of semiconductors, material science, transportation systems, grid stability and security, clean energy generation, supply chain security, quantum computing and AI.
  4. The diverse talent pipeline that makes all of this possible. Home to some of the nation’s top engineering and IT and computer-science schools, Illinois’ EV workforce is projected to increase by 83% by 2024.
  5. A central location that enables mass distribution of EV products across North America. Northern Illinois is located in the middle of one of the world’s most connected rail networks and is home to several international airports and a robust system of navigable waterways.
  6. Strong local demand for EVs. Illinois is already home to 54,000 EV drivers and thousands of charging stations. That consumer base continues to grow as local drivers, communities and transportation organizations go electric.

On their own, each factor is critical. But it’s their unique combination that has made Northern Illinois a global hub for the EV industry, and businesses are taking notice.

Bumper to Bumper

While the rise of Illinois’ EV ecosystem can be traced to the region’s rich history of automotive production, the industry shifted into overdrive with the arrival of EV manufacturer Rivian.

In 2016, Rivian’s leadership team visited a shuttered Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. They were there to purchase equipment. However, once they arrived in Illinois and took stock of the region’s workforce and pro-business policies, they changed course and purchased the plant. With backing from investors including Amazon, Ford and Cox Automotive, Rivian expanded their Illinois operations and went public in November 2021. Today, the company employs 3,700 workers and is one of the world’s biggest EV producers.

Attracting Rivian was itself a big win for the Illinois EV industry, but it was only the beginning.   

In 2021, as Rivian’s first electric truck rolled off the assembly line, Canadian manufacturer Lion Electric Company announced that it had selected Joliet in Will County, Illinois as the site of its U.S. manufacturing facility. When production begins in late 2022, Lion’s 900,000-square-foot facility will produce up to 20,000 zero-emission buses and trucks each year.

These vehicles will be essential to helping communities across the country decarbonize transportation systems. Their production, meanwhile, will bring more than 1,400 jobs and over $130 million to Joliet.

Next in line was Merkur, a manufacturing performance and product-development firm. They opened a new office in DuPage County, Illinois to be closer to Lion and the regional EV ecosystem.

“We want to be where our customers are; it’s as simple as that,” said Jonathan Levesque, Director of Business Development and USA Market at Merkur.

“Northern Illinois has several key advantages for us. It’s a major hub for the industries we serve: transportation, manufacturing, aeronautics and agri-food. Plus, its central location and international airports make it easy for us to reach clients and suppliers across the country and around the world. When our client Lion moved here, it was an easy decision to open an office in Downers Grove.”

“What I love about this story is that it shows how attracting the right business brings more businesses,” said Doug Pryor, President & CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development.

“First there was Rivian, then Lion, then Merkur. Now, we have more companies in EV and related sectors looking to invest. It’s all because of regional collaboration; working together, we made a strong cluster to support future economic growth. We created the conditions that allow these businesses to thrive.”

Fueling the Movement

A short drive from Merkur and Lion – you could easily visit all three on a single charge – is Argonne National Laboratory. One of 17 U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories (and one of two in DuPage County), Argonne is approaching the challenge of building an EV infrastructure on multiple fronts.

The first is economic. There are currently about 52,000 public charging stations across the U.S. That might sound impressive, but to meet growing demand and facilitate the widespread use of EVs, the country must build hundreds of thousands more.

The good news is that there is a large pool of federal funding – $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – marked for new charging stations. However, to access this funding, states must first demonstrate the potential economic benefits of new stations.

Identifying and gathering the right data can be difficult. That’s why scientists at Argonne developed a free online tool (JOBS EVSE) to help states estimate the economic impact of charging stations. Using the tool, state representatives and others can determine the cost of installing and maintaining new stations. They can compare that cost to the total value in sales that the stations are projected to generate, as well as the estimated number of jobs that will be produced during construction and management.

The Consumer Angle

While Argonne is helping states access funding to build charging stations, they are also working to help electric vehicle drivers of the future spend less time at the (electric) pump.

Currently, a pit stop at a charging station can take 30 minutes or more, much longer than it takes to pump gas. Scientists at Argonne are working to narrow that gap. In partnership with several other national laboratories, they are developing batteries and charging technologies designed to speed-up recharging to 15 minutes or less, while enabling batteries to hold higher densities of energy for longer charges.

Faster charging and longer battery life are more than just convenient. Shorter lines at the pumps enable widespread adoption of EVs, while faster charging makes electric trucks more feasible for the fast-moving supply chain.

“I think it’s fair to say that every car company views fast charging as the ‘killer app,’” said Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) in a recent post on Argonne’s website. “We are reaching a stage where electric cars and trucks must charge fast — it’s not a nice-to-have.”

Meanwhile, another DuPage County organization, ComEd, is also approaching the EV challenge from a consumer angle. Buying an electric vehicle for the first time can be intimidating. To make the process more approachable, ComEd recently released the EV Toolkit, a digital resource that provides helpful information on savings, benefits and incentives for consumers purchasing EVs, as well as an overview of EV brands and models, rate options and charging locations.

“Mass consumer education is critical,” said Jennifer Morand, Co-President of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association in a ComEd press release. “The EV customers of yesterday can’t be compared to today’s EV buyer, which is why resources like ComEd’s EV Toolkit are pivotal for this next phase of EV adoption.”

Supercharged: The Future of EVs in Northern Illinois

Give it a few years, and you could be riding a bus manufactured by Lion Electric in Joliet, produced under the guidance of Merkur in Downers Grove, powered by a battery using technology developed at Argonne, and built using parts sourced from suppliers across the region.

That’s the vision of Northern Illinois’ EV ecosystem: to create a diverse and comprehensive regional supply chain, where producers can source nearly all of their supplies locally. For the region, that would mean more jobs and a more stable and efficient supply chain, while generating tax revenue for local communities.  

While the Northern Illinois EV ecosystem has already begun to achieve this vision, there is still room to grow.

In particular, there is a high demand for regional producers of batteries and semiconductors. Today, batteries, the most valuable component of electric vehicles, are almost exclusively produced in China, Japan and Korea. (For comparison: in 2020, China had 93 battery-producing mega-factories. The U.S. had four.) Semiconductors, another essential component, are also widely produced overseas.

As a result, domestic EV manufacturers often must source essential components from overseas operations. As the global supply chain has become increasingly volatile, there have been numerous production delays, shortages and rising material costs.

Local, state and national governments are working to change that. New federal programs like CHIPS and the Science Bill offer semiconductor producers billions in subsidies to invest stateside. Meanwhile, Illinois is targeting battery and chip manufacturers through aggressive incentive programs, while communities across Northern Illinois continue to draw investors from across the supply chain to the region’s emerging electric vehicle ecosystem.

“Whether you’re making the vehicle itself, the battery, the chip, or the many other components that go into developing EVs and the EV infrastructure, we want you here,” said Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage, the economic development organization of DuPage County.

“We have the workforce, the suppliers, the incentives and the location. Most importantly, we have the mindset. Our communities believe that sustainable technology is the key to a better future. We’re here to make it.”

Economic Indicators Report: Q3 2022

Economic Indicators Report DuPage County

The Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report is published on a quarterly basis. It is intended to provide a snapshot of the current state of the local DuPage County economy.

Q3 Economic Indicators Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate rose to 3.3%. 
  • Total employment in DuPage County is 625,642. 
  • Top industries by employment are healthcare and social assistance, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management and remediation services. 
  • The office vacancy rate increased to 16.9%. 
  • Industrial vacancy rates continued declining to a historic low of 2.8%. There is currently 3.3 million square-feet of industrial space under construction in DuPage.

Access the full report here


Endotronix Announces Expansion of U.S. Headquarters in Naperville, Illinois


The company is constructing a new commercial manufacturing facility and anticipates expanding its workforce to support the launch of its comprehensive patient management platform for heart failure

Endotronix, Inc., a digital health and medical technology company dedicated to advancing the treatment of heart failure (HF), today announced plans to relocate and expand their headquarters in Naperville, Illinois to support the full U.S. commercial launch of its Cordella™ Heart Failure System and Pulmonary Artery (PA) Sensor, pending pre-market approval (PMA) of the sensor by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The new building will significantly increase Endotronix’s manufacturing and operating capacity, allowing for a 30% workforce expansion as well as continued growth opportunities in the years to come. In addition to the U.S. office, Endotronix will maintain their European office in Ireland.

“This is an exciting time for Endotronix. As we approach full enrollment in our PROACTIVE-HF clinical trial, we are looking ahead toward scaling our manufacturing and operations in anticipation of commercialization of our proactive digital heart failure system,” stated Harry Rowland, CEO of Endotronix. “Naperville offers an ideal location to plant our roots, offering a skilled workforce, affordable quality of life for our employees, desirable proximity to Chicago, and strong sense of community.”

Headquartered in the Chicago-land area since 2013, Endotronix recently signed a lease for an 80,000+ square feet facility that will more than double their current footprint. The new facility is located in the HUB 1415 building (1415 Diehl Road, Naperville, IL) and is currently undergoing custom enhancements to include a state-of-the-art cleanroom, manufacturing, quality, and administrative space. The first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in early 2023 with hybrid workspace specifically designed to accommodate a flexible workforce. The company is represented by Newmark.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Endotronix to Naperville,” said Steve Chirico, Mayor of Naperville. “As a fiscally-sound, business-friendly community that provides an unparalleled quality of life to its residents, we are a premier destination for growing companies like Endotronix. We look forward to being the home of their expanded commercial manufacturing and operations.”

The safety and efficacy of the company’s novel Cordella PA Sensor is currently being studied in a global investigational device exemption (IDE) clinical trial called PROACTIVE-HF that is on track to complete enrollment in the coming months. In addition, the company recently announced positive clinical data for the Cordella Sensor from the European SIRONA 2 clinical trial that was presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Heart Failure Association (HFA) in May.

About Endotronix

Endotronix, Inc., a medical technology company, delivers an integrated platform that provides comprehensive, reimbursable health management innovations for patients suffering from advanced heart failure. Their solution, the Cordella™ Heart Failure System, includes a cloud-based disease management data system and at home hemodynamic management with a breakthrough implantable wireless pulmonary artery pressure sensor for early detection of worsening heart failure. Learn more at

The Cordella System, without the sensor, is available for commercial use in the U.S. and E.U. and is currently in cardiology centers across the U.S. The Cordella PA Sensor is currently under clinical investigation and is not currently available for commercial use in any geography.

Planning a Business Expansion? We can help.

business expansion

Planning a new business expansion in Chicago or the greater Chicago region? Looking to relocate to the DuPage County area? Choose DuPage can provide expert guidance, key resources and valuable business connections to help you navigate the challenges of business development.

Located just west of Chicago, DuPage County is a global hub for a diverse range of industries and sub-sectors, from data centers and logistics to advanced manufacturing, healthcare, food processing and more.

Now, small businesses, start-ups and large corporations alike are choosing DuPage to relocate or expand their business, and Choose DuPage is helping them make it happen

Why DuPage?

DuPage offers businesses a variety of benefits, from a strong talent pipeline to a collaborative business climate, a strategic location, and more.

At a time when businesses around the world are struggling to navigate their supply chain and get ahold of the materials they need, DuPage is strategically located at the center of a global cargo gateway.

Here, millions of tons of cargo move through three nearby international airports (O’Hare, Midway, and the DuPage Airport). DuPage is also located near the nation’s largest inland port, the busiest railroad hub in the U.S., and a highway system that connects businesses in Chicagoland with cities across the Midwest market and beyond. DuPage’s location makes it easier for businesses to access goods, customers, and vendors along the supply chain.

Meanwhile, as businesses compete for talent, DuPage offers one of the nation’s leading talent markets. Our strong workforce ecosystem and seamless talent pipeline are built on national-caliber educational institutions and a diverse economy, as well as organizations and programs that help connect employers to workers.

With more than 640,000 workers in DuPage with a diverse range of skills and educational attainment levels – plus the nearby Chicago talent pool – businesses in the region have access to the workforce they need.

In addition to a strategic location and a strong workforce ecosystem, DuPage offers tax incentives for expansion, as well as low commercial property taxes, close proximity to millions of consumers across Chicagoland, and opportunities to connect with other businesses in a collaborative environment.

The challenge of expansion and relocation

Although it’s often the result of a business’ growth, the process of expanding or relocating to a new area is often one of a business’ greatest challenges.

Whether it’s a start-up that’s expanding its customer base or a well-known corporation opening a new customer service center, most businesses must eventually expand or relocate.

To do so, they may have to purchase new assets, open new units, hire and train additional staff, develop new marketing strategies, move their business to a new location, or add additional square footage to a current location. Expansion or relocation requires a major material investment and a number of difficult decisions, and success ultimately comes down to good planning, solid data and insights, and some help from those who know the market best.

Many businesses struggle to expand or relocate not because they lack the will to do so, but because they don’t have the right knowledge, resources and local connections. Expansion often requires training new employees, finding a location to expand their operations, and connecting with vendors and other businesses in the area along the supply chain—and that requires deep knowledge of the local market.

Before a business expands or relocates, they should strive to understand the market in which they are doing business. They should research local market conditions to understand where their sector is heading, whether the area has the workforce to support their business, and how the regional economy is expected to perform in the future.

Unfortunately, most start-ups and small businesses don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly research the area in which they are expanding. Even for larger businesses, finding reliable, relevant data and building connections within the local supply chain is often difficult.

How Choose DuPage can help

Choose DuPage is an alliance of DuPage County’s public and private sector leaders, representing a wide range of industries and interests within DuPage. Together, we are committed to helping our region and our business community thrive.

As local insiders and experts in the DuPage and greater Chicagoland region, we have the resources, connections and expertise to connect you with incentive programs, help you find the right location for your business, and use reliable, relevant data to understand the region’s economy and business climate.

Industry-Sector Reports: Plan smarter with valuable insights and key data points on your market.

Understanding the present and projected future conditions of a local market is critical to successfully expanding within or relocating to a region.

How is the market expected to perform over the coming years? What is the current state of the workforce for your subsector? How can you connect with vendors, suppliers and other businesses along your supply chain?

Choose DuPage can provide a detailed industry-sector report with critical information about factors like workforce, supply chain, and the overall business climate in DuPage for your industry.

Site Selection Assistance: Work with a local expert to find the right space for your business.

When relocating to a new area, selecting the right location can ultimately determine a business’ success or failure. However, if you are unfamiliar with the area, choosing the right site can be difficult.

It helps to have an expert with a local perspective. At Choose DuPage, we have a deep understanding of the area’s commercial real estate market, and we can help you find a space that suits your needs.

Commercial Collaboration: Learn from peers and connect with businesses along the supply chain.

We offer a variety of opportunities for commercial collaboration, including classes, seminars and networking events. These meetings and events help connect you with other businesses in your industry and along the supply chain, as well as organizations along the talent pipeline that can help you recruit and develop your workforce.

Specialized Resources and Incentives: Access programs designed to help you achieve your goals.

From not-for-profit organizations providing training and consulting services to angel investment programs for start-up business expansion in Chicago and the Chicago area, DuPage businesses can access a wide range of resources and incentives to help achieve their goals. Learn more about these programs on Choose DuPage’s resources page.

Get in touch with Choose DuPage.

For more information on expanding or relocating your business in DuPage County, contact us at