The West Loop and Near West Side are gaining more momentum as Chicago's newest tech hotspots every week. As Chicago's economy turns towards young startups and tech incubators to help usher in the new century, neighborhood demographics and flagship business tenants are changing constantly. With dozens of new coworking spaces, names like Groupon, Lightbank and soon-to-be Motorola, River North has been the city's tech powerhouse for at least the last five years. However some are saying that the near north neighborhood known for its luxury high rises and fine dining has become saturated and too expensive for newer, younger and less endowed companies.
By far the largest name in the game making waves in the latest westward expansion is Google, as the search engine giant plans on moving into the old Fulton Market Cold Storage building next year. Beyond Google, Crain's reports that the Near West area is popular with gaming companies and other younger tech businesses who are made up of employees who ride their bikes to work and live in the West Town, Wicker Park or other Northwest Side 'nabes. Though Chicago is no Silicon Valley or Palo Alto, the city's entrepreneurial and bureaucratic players have come together in big ways in recent years to ensure that the city gets an important place at the 21st century tech startup table. Built In Chicago and Chicago Ideas Week have been key catalysts in the city's push for tech incubators, funding, and collaboration. No longer the hog butcher for the world, Chicago is poised to become an important hub for technology in the coming years. If you fund it, they will build it, and then they will come - to the Near West Side.
· Chicago's new hotspot for tech startups [Crain's]
· Growing Google grabs more space in West Loop office project [Chi Real Estate Daily]
· Will Motorola Still Move To The Merchandise Mart? [Curbed Chicago]