Zurich said Thursday it has signed a letter of intent to build a new headquarters for its 2,500 workers with construction starting in late 2014 on about 30 acres to 40 acres, or roughly 10 percent of the Motorola Solutions campus. The building would be along Meacham Road near the I-90 tollway and would create about 700 construction jobs, the companies said.
History of Motorola's Schaumburg campusIn 1964, Motorola acquired a 316-acre site in Schaumburg to be used for manufacturing and administrative facilities. The property, formerly the John Freise farm.
Motorola began constructing a 674,000-square-foot facility on the Schaumburg property in 1966 to house the company's Communications Division, which supplied two-way radio systems and equipment. Operations began at the new facility in March 1967. Other business operations continued at the previous Motorola Communications Division facility, located at 4545 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago.
In 1969, Motorola Communications Division began constructing a 310,000-square-foot addition to its Schaumburg facility. The addition, which became the division's new administrative headquarters, opened in 1971.
On Sept. 17, 1973, Motorola broke ground for its new corporate world headquarters building on the Schaumburg campus. The facility included a 12-story office building and an adjacent two-story annex to house a computer services center and a cafeteria. The new international headquarters building opened in April 1976.
Also in 1976, Motorola's Automotive Products Division relocated its headquarters to the Schaumburg Motorola campus.
In 1982, Motorola completed a 350,000 square foot addition to its Communications Division's facility in Schaumburg.
In 1983, Motorola began another expansion at the Schaumburg site to manufacture cellular radiotelephone systems and phones.
The Motorola Galvin Center for Continuing Education opened in May 1986 on the company's Schaumburg campus. The 88,000 square foot facility included classrooms, breakout rooms and an auditorium, and served as the administrative center for the company's training and education operations.
In 1989, Motorola broke ground on an east wing addition to the Galvin Center facility. The building, designed to house the Motorola Museum of Electronics and the Corporate Archives, was completed in November 1990. After installing exhibits and transferring the company's heritage collections, the new facility opened on September 3, 1991.
In 1992, Motorola completed a west wing addition to the Galvin Center that doubled the size of the facility.
Courtesy of Motorola Solutions
"We're very excited about this plan and we're looking forward to creating the best of the best in a world-class headquarters," said Jennifer Kyung, Zurich's business lead who is based in Schaumburg.
Plans call for Zurich to tear down an empty building formerly used by Motorola and construct a new environmentally friendly building. Zurich's office towers will be leased.
Zurich plans to put together an investment team to purchase the Motorola land. The company then plans to contract a company to build its new headquarters, Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson said, and then once the "green" building is finished, Zurich would lease it.
A total acquisition price for the property, the cost of the new building, or design details of the building are still in the planning stages, Kyung said.
The legendary Schaumburg campus, which stretches from Algonquin Road to the I-90 Tollway, has had a long history of expansion until the dot-com bubble burst and the recession forced major restructuring.
"We're committed to staying in Schaumburg as our global headquarters and welcome Zurich as our neighbor," said Motorola Solutions spokeswoman Tama McWhinney. "And we believe this plan adds value to the community."
Motorola Solutions intended to change the face of its campus in February 2011, when it put two of its buildings on the market for lease. After Motorola Inc. split into two companies, the remaining Motorola Mobility equipment was transferred to Libertyville, so more space opened at the Motorola Solutions headquarters. Motorola Mobility now is in the process of relocating to Chicago.
Further openings occurred in various spots on the Schaumburg campus as Motorola Solutions continued to consolidate, leaving vacant the so-called Parts Building, used primarily as a warehouse with about 260,000 square feet, and the IT Building, which had specialized devices and equipment with about 170,000 square feet.
Zurich's investment team plans to raze the Parts Building and construct the new headquarters at that site.
It took many months of negotiations to keep Zurich in the village, where the iconic Zurich Towers have been their longtime home.
"My understanding is (Zurich officials) were negotiating with a number of other communities, including Hoffman Estates and Rosemont," Larson said. "It keeps these jobs right here in Schaumburg and identifies Schaumburg more as a corporate headquarters. On a personal level, I was very concerned about losing Zurich and all those jobs, and the impact that would have on the surrounding restaurants and businesses."
Larson believes the appeal of the new location for Zurich includes proximity to the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center and other amenities, as well as improved access that will come with new interchanges on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway at Roselle and Meacham roads.
The Motorola campus would be part of a proposed tax increment finance district between Algonquin Road and I-90, in which taxes from future property value increases would be earmarked for new interchange ramps and other public improvements.
The project may also be eligible for TIF money for the demolition of the structures being removed on the Motorola campus as well as road improvements, Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said. But no other financial incentives outside of that TIF eligibility were offered by the village.
Zurich is planning to have its new headquarters go through the village's review process in the near future, with the intention of breaking ground in 2014. The building should be ready by the time Zurich's lease at its current headquarters expires in 2016, Larson said.
The pending move leaves the Zurich Towers' owner, Inland Real Estate, with the task of leasing out the buildings to others. But Larson believes the buildings' height and proximity to restaurants and retail won't make that a tall order.
"I would think that filling that kind of space, with those kind of amenities, is not as difficult as trying to market a corporate campus," he said.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn worked with the Zurich executives on keeping the business here.
"With our diverse economy, our pool of highly skilled workers, and our world-class transportation infrastructure, Illinois has what it takes for businesses to grow and thrive," Quinn said in a statement. "We are glad Zurich is choosing to invest in Illinois and look forward to more global corporations making Illinois their home."