Motorola, Elgin pursuing deal on training facility with 200-plus jobs

Motorola Solutions is seeking to establish a training and manufacturing center in Elgin, and city officials are calling it "a big victory."

The city council Wednesday will consider a development agreement with the Schaumburg-based company, which plans to invest approximately $18 million in a vacant, 300,000-square-foot building at 2580 Galvin Drive, in the Northwest Business Park, and create about 200 full-time positions, with the potential for another 200 seasonal jobs.

The proposed agreement grants fast-track permitting and waives development, impact and building permit fees for Motorola. A report from city staff members to the city council included in Wednesday's agenda packet doesn't state how much money that would amount to. City Manager Sean Stegall declined to comment.

"It's a big victory for the city and it's a big victory for the (Elgin Area) Chamber of Commerce," Councilman Terry Gavin said.

The Elgin Development Group, a division of the chamber, has worked during the past few months to persuade Motorola Solutions to establish the new facility in Elgin, according to the staff report.

Motorola Solutions, which makes radio equipment for emergency workers, is the product of the 2011 breakup of Motorola Inc., which resulted in the mobile phone unit being spun off into Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. That business was later sold to Google Inc., which then sold it to Lenovo Group Ltd. in 2014, the report states.

Motorola Solutions spokeswoman Tama McWhinney said the company had no formal announcement yet.

"We have been evaluating several options to determine the best approach to meet our facility needs as a smaller, more efficient and software-focused company," she said. "The Elgin City Council discussion is part of our evaluation process."

Motorola Solutions wants to begin construction for improvements to the building as early as October and must complete lease negotiations this month, the report states.

Councilman John Prigge said he supports entering into the agreement with Motorola. "This illustrates how attractive that corridor is to businesses this size," he said.

Prigge also said he hopes the jobs that Motorola plans to create will consist of new hires, and not current employees transferred from elsewhere.

According to the staff report, Motorola Solutions recently announced it took a $1 billion investment from the private equity firm Silver Lake, a specialist in technology deals.

"Motorola Solutions will be transitioning its business from selling primarily hardware products such as radios and network infrastructure that police officers, fire departments and other emergency workers use, to a broader, software-based emergency communications platform," the report states.

Gavin pointed out that the proposed location, Galvin Drive, is named after brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin, the original founders of Motorola, which was born in 1928 as Galvin Manufacturing Corp. in Chicago. "It's kind of neat," he said.

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