Walgreens plans to create 500 jobs over three years and invest $75 million to expand and renovate more than two dozen corporate offices throughout metropolitan Chicago in a project dubbed "Invest Illinois Initiative."
The new jobs will focus heavily on supporting Walgreens' growing online business and its expanding pharmacy, health and wellness services. The new jobs are corporate positions and don't include the additional store-level positions the company anticipates creating in the same time period, the firm said.
"We are proud of our Illinois heritage," said Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. "Just as our stores and pharmacies are health and daily living anchors for the communities we serve, we as a company are now recommitted to serving as an economic anchor for northeastern Illinois. A state and workforce that has served us so well for more than a century will now see our footprint grow even larger."
"Walgreens has deep roots in Illinois and is an important part of the region's flourishing health care hub," Governor Pat Quinn said. "This expansion will create good paying jobs, attract additional investment to the area and help fuel our economic recovery."
Walgreens currently employs more than 5,000 workers at its Deerfield headquarters and surrounding offices. Its corporate workforce is currently housed in 27 different office buildings in Deerfield, Northbrook, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Bannockburn, Mt. Prospect, Northlake and Chicago, Illinois. The company's investment will be used to retrofit offices and make it easier for workers to travel between buildings.
As an incentive, under the terms of the agreement, Walgreens will also be eligible for tax credits tied to retaining 1,500 existing jobs. The state's targeted investment package, estimated at $47 million, includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits, which are based on jobs and distributed over a period of 10 years; tax credits under the High Impact Business Program which supports companies that propose substantial capital investments in operations; and training grants through the Employer Training Investment Program. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer the package.
Walgreens operates 592 drug stores in Illinois. In total it operates 7,907 drugstores in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.