Salesforce proposing massive expansion in Chicago, 5,000 jobs

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Software giant Inc., which in 2016 announced big plans to expand its operations in Indianapolis, appears to have even bigger plans for Chicago.

The San Francisco-based company is reportedly in talks to potentially lease more than 500,000 square feet of office space in a still-to-be-built skyscraper along the Chicago River, where it could add up to 5,000 jobs.

Crains Chicago Business reported Wednesday that the new space would be three times larger than its existing Chicago office, where it has about 1,000 employees.

The proposed project could be held up by a couple of requests the tech firm has for Chicago officials, Crains reported. One is a $10 million property tax abatement. The other is permission to put a massive video wall on the side of the proposed tower.

If Salesforce does add 5,000 employees in Chicago, its workforce in the Windy City would far exceed its employee count in Indianapolis.

In May 2016, Salesforce announced a $40 million plan to establish its regional headquarters in Indianapolis, expanding its local workforce from 1,560 to nearly 2,400 by the end of 2021.

Last year, the company began occupying 11 floors of the 48-story downtown building formerly known as the Chase Tower, now called Salesforce Tower.

Indiana economic development authorities offered Salesforce more than $17 million in tax incentives to attract the expansion.

It isn’t known if Indiana has been competing with Illinois for the latest project. Crain’s said Salesforce has been negotiating with the city of Chicago for the incentives.

Abby Gras, vice president of communications for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said the group’s negotiations with companies are confidential, so she couldn’t confirm or deny whether Salesforce was working with Indiana on another expansion.

Crain's said Salesforce built its Chicago presence by acquiring five tech companies in the city since 2011.

The company established operations in Indianapolis by acquiring ExactTarget in 2013 for $2.5 billion.

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