Chicago Beats Suburbs for New Google Unit

Motorola Mobility–a unit of Google–announced today that they will be moving their headquarters from suburban Libertyville to the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.

The company was purchased by Google last May and will be moving 3000 jobs to the historic building.

From an urban development standpoint this move is instructive since the head of Motorola deliberately sited the urban environment as an advantage to their business given the new site’s ample crowds and public transit being a natural laboratory in which to observe how consumers interact with mobile technology.

From an urban planning standpoint it could be used as evidence that the dense, multi-modal environment that you get in a city is an amenity for business and economic growth.  In addition, Motorola sees the urban setting as advantageous to recruit and retain good talent.

Suburbs like Libertyville simply can’t compete with the social and physical infrastructure of Chicago.