McDonald's Will Move Its Headquarters Back to Chicago

Oak Brook-Based Burger Giant Heading to Chicago's West Loop

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McDonald's Global Headquarters - Oak Brook, IL
McDonald's Global Headquarters - Oak Brook, IL Credit: McDonald's

McDonald's said Monday it plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Chicago from the suburb of Oak Brook by the spring of 2018, as the Golden Arches follows the lead of other major marketers relocating to cities as they look to attract young talent.

The world's largest restaurant company has signed a lease for 1045 W. Randolph in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, a location that used to house Oprah Winfrey's former Harpo Studios.

The move is the latest shake up at McDonald's, which is in the middle of a creative agency review for its U.S. business. President and CEO Steve Easterbrook has been overseeing a variety of changes which have included everything from staff reductions to using real butter on Egg McMuffins.

"We are a brand on the move in more ways than one," Mr. Easterbrook said in a statement. "Moving our headquarters to Chicago is another significant step in our journey to build a better McDonald's. This world-class environment will continue to drive business momentum by getting us even closer to customers, encouraging innovation and ensuring great talent is excited about where they work."

McDonald's Plaza Building - Oak Brook, IL
McDonald's Plaza Building - Oak Brook, IL Credit: McDonald's

Crain's Chicago Business had previously reported that McDonald's planned to move its headquarters, a decision it confirmed Monday. McDonald's also said it move the McDonald's Hamburger University location from Oak Brook, Ill., to the new Chicago location.

McDonald's was previously based in Chicago from 1955 until 1971 at 221 N. LaSalle. The company said it plans to "transform the space into a modern setting that fosters collaboration and connectivity."

The move comes after marketers including Hillshire, ConAgra, Kraft Heinz and Beam Suntory have announced or completed moves from Chicago's suburbs to city locations in recent years.

"Today's announcement is about more than just a new location for us. It is an important investment in our people as we look to create a start-of-the-art company headquarters they can use to move our business forward for many years to come," McDonald's Chairman Rick Hernandez said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear what McDonald's plans to do with the digital office it opened in Chicago's River North neighborhood in 2015. A company spokeswoman said McDonald's "will evaluate when the time is appropriate." That office followed a digital hub the company opened in San Francisco.

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