While Zurich North America prepares to break ground on Tuesday for its new headquarters in Schaumburg, state officials agreed to a tax incentive package valued at about $20.35 million for the company.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Gov. Pat Quinn worked with the insurance executives after the company received a proposed incentive package from Overland Park, Kansas, along with interest from other states, to move a number of jobs.
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"But we never contemplated moving our headquarters," said company spokeswoman Tracey Mendrek. "In the end, after a detailed analysis, we decided it was best for our customers, our employees and our business to remain in Schaumburg."
Last September, Zurich announced it would move out of its Zurich Towers in Schaumburg in favor of an energy-efficient, state-of-the-art building that would be constructed on 38.8 acres of unused land on the Motorola Solutions campus. Schaumburg officials approved the plan in February, and Motorola's so-called Parts Building, which had been unused in recent years, was demolished for the project.
Zurich is expected to sign an agreement with the state to receive $20.3 million in Edge Tax Credits over 10 years. The company also will receive a one-time grant of $50,000 for job training of new hires, said Dave Roeder, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The company agreed to add 250 full-time jobs by September 2018. Zurich must meet the requirements to get the money, Roeder said.
Currently, Zurich has 2,000 employees and 500 contractors at Zurich Towers, and all of them are expected to move to the new headquarters when the site opens in 2016.
In addition, Zurich pledged an investment of $128.9 million over the next 15 years, the equivalent of the value of its lease, Roeder said.
The developer and design builder, Clayco, and investor/landlord Stonemont, have made roughly a $300 million investment and plan to lease the building to Zurich for the next 26 years, Zurich executives said.
"We were in the Towers for 26 years, and now we've signed a 26-year lease for the new headquarters," said Mike Foley, Zurich North American Commercial CEO.
Besides Foley, the groundbreaking will including Quinn, Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson and other dignitaries.
Larson said his priority was to keep Zurich in town, especially after the company explored options in Hoffman Estates, Rosemont and Chicago.
"We had a great deal of concern when we heard Zurich's lease was set to expire in 2016, and we wanted to keep those 2,500 jobs in Schaumburg," Larson said.
In February, village officials approved the construction plans for the 735,000-square-foot headquarters, along with an option for a 220,000-square-foot addition later. The main building is along Meacham Road and Zurich Way, formerly known as Thoreau Drive. It's just north of the 1-90 tollway.
Though the project generally will be eligible to be reimbursed 65 percent of the property taxes it generates as part of the village's newly established tax increment finance district, the total will be capped at $100 million for the initial phase and $10 million for the possible expansion.
The new building will have the latest in energy efficiency for its water usage and heating and cooling system, among other innovations, said Jen Kyung, Zurich North American headquarter business lead.
The campus also will feature various amenities for the employees, including indoor and outdoor fitness areas, a cafeteria, coffee shop and a convenience store.
The local workforce had a voice in what the building would offer, in part through 1,300 responses to an employee survey and 200 workers participating in focus groups, said Kyung.
"We're in a growth mode now and we have a number of job postings on our site," Kyung said. "So we want to be flexible in the new headquarters to accommodate that growth."