Gogo, which offers in-flight wireless services to airline passengers, will move its headquarters from Itasca to Chicago and could get a tax incentive package worth roughly $2 million from the city.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gogo President and CEO Michael Small said Wednesday that Gogo will move to 111 N. Canal St., Chicago, with about 460 employees and might add 50 jobs within the next two years.
"Gogo is eligible for training dollars of up to $5,000 per new employee that they hire, up to 400 employees," said Tom Alexander, a spokesman for Emanuel.
"But the new employees have to live in the city of Chicago. So, if they hire 400 new employees, and they all live in Chicago, they can get $2 million," Alexander said. That incentive package is for five years, starting in 2014, Alexander said.
The company is also eligible for state incentives, but Gogo spokesman Steve Nolan could not provide the amount.
Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn said he was disappointed but not surprised, considering Gogo notified him in August that it was seeking larger space.
"They liked it here, but there was nothing here to fit their needs," Pruyn said. "We didn't have the kind of space they needed and they weren't interested in building a new site here."
Gogo, which has leased space in Itasca since 2007. plans to move to Chicago in spring 2015.
Gogo provides in-air connectivity to more than 2,000 commercial aircraft and communication services to more than 6,000 business aircraft. Gogo serves American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America; in-flight entertainment partners include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Scoot and US Airways.
"We put the move out there long enough to give our employees some time to make their decision on whether they're coming with us," Nolan said.
Gogo is the latest suburban company to be lured to the city. Others include Motorola Mobility and part of Motorola Solutions, among others.
Gogo's business aviation division is based in Broomfield, Colo., and the company considered options in Colorado, but ultimately chose Chicago to tap into the city's extensive talent pipeline and because of its access to domestic and foreign partners and thriving technology community, Small said.
"As we conducted our search for a new company headquarters, it was clear the state and the city have made considerable efforts to raise Chicago's profile as a technology hub and our new company headquarters puts us at the epicenter of that activity in a location that's better suited for the rapid growth we expect at Gogo," Small said.
"We truly appreciate all of the support that the Village of Itasca gave Gogo over the years as the company developed its commercial aviation business," added Small.