Municipalities must prepare for the evolution of commercial real estate – Shaw Local

“We greatly value our ongoing relationships in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We look forward to maintaining a strong presence in the city and state.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun doesn’t look like someone kicked out of Chicago, but Republicans looking to score points against Gov. JB Pritzker made that clear Thursday when the company announced plans to move its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia.

From a political point of view, why wouldn’t it be? Boeing’s move to Chicago in 2001 from Seattle was a massive win for the city, and it’s easy to grab headlines by portraying his departure as a major loss. Whether the strategy plays out with voters depends on whether they read the story.

On the one hand, the company will keep more than 400 employees in Chicago, or about 80% of its local workforce. On the other hand, even though people may want to paint Boeing’s decision as the result of city or state taxes, crime or political corruption, there is a very practical explanation: the military is a more reliable customer than passenger airlines.

“It’s really clear that Boeing is becoming more dependent on the Pentagon right now than on commercial aviation,” said Scott Hamilton, founder of aviation analysis firm Leeham, in an interview with KIRO-FM of Seattle. . “It just makes sense in the world.”

Boeing recently reported first quarter losses of $1.2 billion, which is unsurprising for an industry so affected by COVID-19 mitigation measures and certainly not solely attributable to where 500 workers write emails. Nor does anyone seriously think that Capitol Hill lobbying and defense spending are corruption-free zones.

More salient would be to ask city officials to face the reality that Chicago office space will never be as fully utilized as pre-pandemic levels. Colliers International, a commercial real estate company, said the downtown vacancy rate was nearly 20% at the end of March.

Businesses large and small rethinking their office space and what workers need to be where should dramatically change land and property use, and the cities that can best understand how to transition to new commuting realities should benefit significantly. There’s no indication that Chicago has a head start in this race, but Boeing’s “leaving” as it stands presents a fantastic opportunity for city leaders around the world to seriously engage the subject.

In the middle of everything

Along with a new state campaign, I invited readers to share their favorite Illinois tourist attractions.

Mike Wheeland: “As a student at SIU-Carbondale in the 80s, I was amazed at the difference in terrain between where I grew up in northern Illinois and there. One of our favorite hiking spots was the Garden of the Gods. The huge rock formations and cliffs are unlike anything I have ever seen in Illinois.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at [email protected].

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