From Illinois Investment Guide 2023

How Illinois Is Building a Better Business Climate

From new incentive programs to unmatched market access, the Land of Lincoln leads.

Business Climate Overview
Chicago architecture is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world.
Photo courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

by Ron Starner

hen it comes to landing corporate facility investment projects, few states do it any better than Illinois. In fact, in 2022, Illinois finished second in the nation by winning 487 capital investment deals just one year after finishing third, according to data compiled by Site Selection magazine.

Over the last decade, Illinois has perennially performed at a top-5 state level, and it consistently ranks in the top two or three. Chicago, the state’s largest city, has been the No. 1-ranked metro area in corporate facility performance for the entire past decade, winning yet again in 2022 with 448 projects last year.

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NAI Hiffman joined executives and employees of Experior Global and Transport, along with project partners and officials from the Village of Schaumburg, in a groundbreaking ceremony for Experior’s new $65 million headquarters and logistics campus on Irving Park Road in Schaumburg. 

Photo courtesy of NAI Hiffman

What sets Illinois apart as a preferred destination for capital projects? The answer, of course, is multi-faceted, but it begins with the vast array of best-in-class assets found in the Land of Lincoln. According to media juggernaut CNBC, Illinois ranks second in the nation for infrastructure; second for education; sixth for access to capital; and ninth for cost of living.

Over the last four years, Illinois has improved its overall business climate ranking each time. “I couldn’t be prouder that we’re outpacing more and more states,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Over the last four years, our Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan has been modernizing our transportation systems. Our higher education institutions have become more affordable and have risen in college rankings. We’ve invested historic levels of funding into early childhood education and K-12 schools which now rank sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Illinois is improving our economic prospects by focusing on the long term.”

NAI Hiffman joined executives and employees of Experior Global and Transport, along with project partners and officials from the Village of Schaumburg, in a groundbreaking ceremony for Experior’s new $65 million headquarters and logistics campus on Irving

Illinois has also improved its game in the ever-changing landscape of incentives. For example, earlier this year, the state significantly expanded its total offering of business incentives to encourage additional capital investment and job creation. At the forefront of this effort is an all-new $400 million closing fund. This is discretionary cash assistance that is available for major job creators with large capital expenditures through the Invest in Illinois Fund.

Illinois Keeps its Programs Competitive

But that’s not all. Among other enhancements, Illinois expanded and improved other premier incentive programs, including:

  • Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV Illinois).
  • Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE).
  • Manufacturing Illinois Chips for Real Opportunity (MICRO).
  • High Impact Business (HIB).
  • Enterprise Zone Expansion.

Illinois also extended the following programs: Illinois Angel Investment Credit; Data Centers Investment Program; Film Production Tax Credit; River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program; Blue Collar Jobs Act Tax Credit; Illinois Apprenticeship Education Expense Tax Credit; Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit; and the Prime Sites Capital Grant Program.

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Two of Experior’s six U.S. locations are in Illinois, including its new headquarters.

Photo courtesy of NAI Hiffman

Commenting on the brand-new Illinois closing fund, the national site selection consulting firm of BLS & Co. said: “New for 2023, the State of Illinois has appropriated $400 million for high-priority projects with funding levels at the discretion of the governor. Funds can be used to offset the upfront costs of construction, infrastructure and site development for a project.”

Of course, incentives alone are not enough to seal a deal; nor are they usually the most important factor. And that’s where the state’s many business-friendly assets come into play. Being home to 1,900 company headquarters, including 33 Fortune 500 firms, makes Illinois a strategic draw for companies operating in highly competitive industries. The fact that Illinois is located in the heart of North America with the best Class I rail service on the continent is also a key differentiator, as is the presence of the country’s best airline service through Chicago O’Hare, Midway and other international airports.

‘Excellent Access to Markets in Chicago and Beyond’

All of these factors were key in persuading Experior Global & Transport to break ground on a $65 million logistics campus in northwest Chicago, with the help of David Haigh, executive vice president at NAI Hiffman. The project is a four-building headquarters and logistics campus at 1001 West Irving Park Road in Schaumburg. Located some 30 miles northwest of Chicago, the site is close to several major highways including I-90, I-290 and I-355. It is also just 10 miles from O’Hare International Airport.

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“From Experior’s inception through its expansion, our company has provided excellent service in the transportation and supply chain industry by optimizing efficiency and reducing costs,” said Tom Dulian, CEO of Experior. “Our new campus will help us serve our clients better while giving us the flexibility to offer space to other firms. This location offers excellent access to local markets, downtown Chicago and points beyond.”

The new headquarters increases the number of Experior locations across the country to six. 

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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