Today's Chicago Tribune succinctly describes why Clayco Inc. is relocating its headquarters from Overland to Chicago.
Here is the lead of the Tribune story by reporter Kathy Bergen:
“St. Louis-based construction firm Clayco Inc. is moving its headquarters to Chicago, attracted by ease of air travel, proximity to clients, access to young professionals and the potential to land city business as Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushes ahead with public-private partnerships for infrastructure improvements, its top executive said Thursday.”
Clayco's founder Bob Clark moved to Chicago in 2010. He's close with hard-charging Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Privately held Clayco will retain its large office on Interstate 170 but Clark and the company bosses will operate from their new HQ in a Wacker Drive skyscraper.
Clark's ties to Emanuel aside, St. Louis' loss of another corporate headquarters says something about the area's ability to compete with the big boys.
Compare Lambert and O'Hare airports: Advantage Chicago.
Compare an office park in Overland and a downtown Chicago highrise: Advantage Chicago.
Compare the numbers of young professionals in St. Louis and Chicago: Advantage Chicago.
Add to that Emanuel's zeal to lure more companies to his city. World Business Chicago Vice Chairman Michael Sacks told the Tribune that Clayco is the 11th corporate headquarters to come to Chicago since Emanuel became mayor.
St. Louis' consolation is that all of the approximately 700 Clayco employees here will keep their jobs. But the company's facility in Overland will be more of a backoffice operation.