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updated: 6/3/2014 7:41 PM

Gallagher headed back to Rolling Meadows

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  • Arthur J. Gallagher is expected to move its international headquarters into the west tower of the Meadows Corporate Center in Rolling Meadows.

      Arthur J. Gallagher is expected to move its international headquarters into the west tower of the Meadows Corporate Center in Rolling Meadows.

 

Arthur J. Gallagher, the giant international insurance company, is putting together government incentives to help move its headquarters from Itasca to Rolling Meadows.

The state of Illinois has a tentative agreement with Gallagher worth about $20 million, and the company is negotiating with Rolling Meadows to establish a tax increment financing district that might be worth $30 million.

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Gallagher has purchased the west tower of the Meadows Corporate Center, 2850 W. Golf Road. Once called the Gould Center, the 40-year-old site has two towers and a few other buildings. At this point the proposed TIF district includes the west tower, a smaller building and parking lots, said City Manager Barry Krumstok, who could offer no timetable for the project. Attorneys are working on many pieces, and everything could change before the matter comes to the council again, he said.

Krumstok told the city council on March 18 that Gallagher plans eventually to have more than 1,800 employees at the site, which will need an estimated $40 million worth of remodeling. He called it the company's worldwide headquarters.

Linda Collins, vice president of corporate communications for Gallagher, would not confirm Gallagher's plans. "We still cannot comment on Rolling Meadows," she said in a voice mail Tuesday.

The city council has approved an "Inducement Resolution" that means it agrees in principle to a TIF of $30 million or less. The city and the company have agreed the TIF district will have a shorter life than the 23 years allowed by state law.

Mayor Tom Rooney said most people do not see the inside of the building, which is "so beat up nobody is going to do anything without a pretty sizable commitment to it. That's a really key ingredient to what we're talking about with them."

Gallager was a tenant of the same center for about 15 years before moving to Itasca in 1991.

"The two biggest advantages are the number of jobs they can bring in and the prestige of having Gallagher," said Rooney. "Getting them back is fantastic."

This would be a "pay as you go" TIF district, which means funds to pay for improvements would be available only as the assessed valuation and property taxes of the district increase. The city would not issue bonds.

The state's $20 million corporate income tax credits would come over 10 years. said David Roeder, communications director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Conditions for the tax credits include creating 150 new jobs in Rolling Meadows by Jan 31, 2016, said Roeder, and 500 new jobs within five years. The corporation needs to retain the 825 jobs currently in Itasca, and Roeder said most of these will move to Rolling Meadows.

The agreement should be finalized within days, Roeder said Tuesday.

The jobs provide the motivation for the state agency to grant the tax credits, he said.

"It's a significant commitment of new jobs -- 500. They could have gone to Kansas or Indiana or another location," said Roeder. "We wanted to keep this company and didn't want to see all those jobs going to another state.

"Sometimes incentives are criticized for moving jobs from one location to another in the state, but this includes a very substantial commitment of new employment."

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