Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. talked to the state in January about potentially moving its headquarters to Chicago, even before shareholders urged the company to move to Europe to save on taxes, a source said Thursday.
Walgreen executives talked with the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn about making the Old Main Post Office site in Chicago's Loop its new headquarters, but the discussions have not gone any further, said a source, who asked to remain anonymous. Tax incentives were not yet on the table, the source said.
Walgreen, which has about 3,500 workers here, already is in the state's Edge tax credit program after it signed a deal a couple of years ago to invest about $75 million to expand its Deerfield campus and add about 500 workers. Then last month, shareholders nudged the company to consider moving to Europe to save on taxes.
Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin said the company has no plans to move at this time, but added, "We are always conducting due diligence on our corporate footprint and have done studies in the past. But we are not engaged with developers on any new locations for our corporate headquarters as part of that due process."
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal believes Walgreen plans to stay in town.
"The village is in regular dialogue with Walgreen management and we are strongly committed to supporting Walgreen's continued presence in Deerfield," Rosenthal said. "The village recognizes and appreciates Walgreen's on-going multi-million dollar investment in their Deerfield campus, including the recent addition of Walgreen University. This would support that the headquarters employment base will remain here for the foreseeable future. The village has received confirmation from Walgreen that they are not engaged with developers on
any new locations for their corporate headquarters."
Jones Lang LaSalle has been working with the company, the source said. Its International Director Meredith O'Connor did not immediately respond to a phone call and email and the real estate firm's spokesman declined to comment.
Walgreen moved in 1975 from Chicago to the Deerfield campus, where it sits on about 1.7 million square feet.
At least 28 corporate headquarters from various locations have relocated to Chicago during Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's tenure. Suburban companies include Motorola Mobility from Libertyville, Gogo from Itasca, Hillshire Brands from Downers Grove, GE Transportation from Melrose Park, and Reznick Group from Skokie.