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McDonald's Bringing 2,000 Jobs, 'Iconic' Brand Back To Chicago With New HQ

By Stephanie Lulay | December 6, 2016 3:06pm | Updated on December 6, 2016 4:29pm

Sterling Bay Principal Andy Gloor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and Carla Agostinelli, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization, post at the McDonald's headquarters groundbreaking Tuesday.  [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

WEST LOOP — McDonald's new corporate headquarters will bring 2,000 new employees to the West Loop, the company announced at a Tuesday groundbreaking. 

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and West Loop leaders were on hand to break ground on the $250 million corporate headquarters Tuesday afternoon. Scheduled to open in spring 2018, the new nine-story building will house McDonald's corporate offices and Hamburger University, one of seven worldwide locations that provides training for the company’s future employees. 

RELATED: Check Out What The New McDonald's Headquarters Will Look Like  

Easterbrook said the company's return to Chicago lays a foundation for the company's next chapter. 

“Our return to Chicago is an important step in our journey to build a better McDonald’s that strives to get closer to our customers in everything we do," Easterbrook said. "There is no better place to do that than here in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop.”

The move will bring 2,000 employees to the neighborhood, confirmed Robert Gibbs, executive vice president and global chief communications officer at McDonald's. 

Earlier this year, McDonald's signed a 15-year lease in Sterling Bay's planned development at 110 N. Carpenter Street on a block-long site formerly occupied by the old Harpo Studios campus. McDonald’s will occupy 485,000 square feet of the nine-story building, according to the Mayor's office. 

Before moving to Oak Brook, the company was headquarters in Chicago from 1966 to 1971. 

“We are breaking ground to bring an iconic American brand back to Chicago — the most American of American cities,” Emanuel said. “Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company like McDonald’s — or a tech startup with a handful of employees — companies big and small recognize that Chicago is a great place to do business.”

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said the company's move will bring other vendors companies — Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods — are sure to follow McDonald's.

"It means a lot more businesses coming here. ... It means more jobs for people in the community," Burnett said. "Because McDonald's is such a charitable organization, there's also a lot of opportunity for non-profits in the area and for schools." 

Sterling Bay is currently pitching plans for a 13-story office building the developer is internally calling McDonald's "Vendor Village." That new building could bring another 1,000 employees to the West Loop, said Andy Gloor, Sterling Bay principal.  

Carla Agostinelli, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization, said the West Loop is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Chicago now, but it hasn't always been that way

"This neighborhood was built by survivors of the Chicago fire, the infamous Haymarket riots, immigrants, meatpackers — and Oprah," she said. "We are children of these strong survivors, champions, and it is our responsibility to help preserve this history." 

Agostinelli said McDonald's has strong charitable commitments and 70 percent of the company's employees are women and minorities. 

"We are very fortunate that McDonald's has chosen the West Loop as its home," she said. 

With more than 36,000 locations in more than 100 countries, McDonald's is the world's leading global food service retailer. More than 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent franchise owners, according to the Mayor's office. 

A Sterling Bay rendering shows what 110 N. Carpenter, the future home of McDonald's corporate headquarters, will look like. [Sterling Bay]

McHugh Construction crews work at the site of the future McDonald's headquarters in the West Loop Tuesday. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

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