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updated: 8/6/2013 7:55 PM

AT&T moves 3,000 jobs from Hoffman Estates to Chicago, other suburbs

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  • AT&T employees leave the work campus in Hoffman Estates on the news that 3,000 jobs will move to Chicago.

       AT&T employees leave the work campus in Hoffman Estates on the news that 3,000 jobs will move to Chicago.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Wheeling approved a concept for a new apartment complex at 100 and 250 Northgate Parkway. The multi-family housing will feature nine housing buildings and a clubhouse for resident usage.A church on the south end of the lot is moving for the developers, but the rest is vacant. A shot of the land and the church, and the Metra station next to the Wheeling community recreation center south of Dundee.

       Wheeling approved a concept for a new apartment complex at 100 and 250 Northgate Parkway. The multi-family housing will feature nine housing buildings and a clubhouse for resident usage.A church on the south end of the lot is moving for the developers, but the rest is vacant. A shot of the land and the church, and the Metra station next to the Wheeling community recreation center south of Dundee.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • AT&T announced Tuesday it is moving workers from its headquarters in Hoffman Estates.

       AT&T announced Tuesday it is moving workers from its headquarters in Hoffman Estates.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • AT&T announced Tuesday it is moving workers from its headquarters in Hoffman Estates.

       AT&T announced Tuesday it is moving workers from its headquarters in Hoffman Estates.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • AT&T employees leave the work campus in Hoffman Estates on the news that 3,000 jobs will move to Chicago.

       AT&T employees leave the work campus in Hoffman Estates on the news that 3,000 jobs will move to Chicago.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

AT&T announced Tuesday it will vacate its 22-year-old Hoffman Estates campus, scattering about 3,000 jobs to sites in Schaumburg, Lisle, Arlington Heights and Chicago.

The telecom said it's not part of a workforce reduction but instead a transition out of its longtime campus near I-90 and Roselle Road to accommodate a more mobile workforce.

Schaumburg will be the biggest beneficiary of the move, providing a new home at 930 National Parkway for 1,500 of the relocated workers.

Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson said he was pleased by the news. He said his village had never offered incentives or sought out AT&T.

"This came as a surprise to us," Larson said. "We knew nothing about it, but we welcome it. It's like coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and seeing that bicycle under the tree you always wanted but never thought you'd get."

Larson said he felt the amenities of the Woodfield commercial district -- with its 200 restaurants and 25 hotels -- was enough for AT&T to settle on Schaumburg.

"We're not just a suburb; we're a focal point for manufacturing, retail and restaurateurs," Larson said. "We certainly didn't court anyone. We don't try to persuade people to leave the locations they're at."

The job moves will begin in June 2014 and continue through 2016, which is the expiration for the company's lease in Hoffman Estates, the company said.

Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod said that while he wasn't surprised by the news, it was still disappointing.

"This is a hit, there's no doubt about it," he said, noting that the village will especially miss the benefits of having AT&T employees eat and shop in the area. "It's a sad day for us."

The village also will see a decrease in property taxes due to the move, and McLeod expressed concern about how that will affect local school districts.

McLeod said a consultant has been hired to determine what types of uses would be good for the building, which could be divided into multiple spaces. There has been some interest expressed, but no companies have taken any action to move into the building, he said.

"I think some of this is just the trend of business at this point," he said. "The large corporate offices are falling out of favor."

While the cost of the move and build-out at different locations or how much the company will save by exiting the lease isn't immediately known, the move is expected to provide the workforce more flexibility, said AT&T spokesman Jim Kimberly.

"Much has changed since the company moved into that campus in 1991," Kimberly said. "So our goal is to provide the employees more flexibility and updated work areas."

The move from the Hoffman Estates campus didn't come as a surprise.

In 2011, Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate services firm in Chicago, was hired to market the property, possibly for sublease. The sprawling campus has about 1.5 million square feet with corporate offices, a full-service cafeteria, call center, data center, and training and auditorium facilities, among other features, in three main buildings.

Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., which owns the buildings and leased the property to AT&T, did not immediately respond to questions on the future of the Hoffman Estates campus.

Jones sought to lease the entire campus or break it up as needed. It targeted corporate users, such as tech and lab groups, educational institutions, data centers and call centers, among others, according to the firm's brochure marketing the campus.

George Kotrogiannis, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, declined to comment. AT&T employs more than 14,000 employees in Illinois, including about 3,900 workers in Chicago and 3,000 in Hoffman Estates.

"This is an exciting development for AT&T and a big moment for the city of Chicago as well," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

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