Bolingbrook, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago with a population of around 75,000, has transformed in recent years into an unexpected hub of technology and innovation. Once known mainly for its proximity to Chicago and low cost of living compared to the city, Bolingbrook is now making a name for itself as a magnet for tech companies and entrepreneurship.
In the past decade, over 45 technology firms have opened offices or relocated their headquarters to Bolingbrook. The suburb is home to major data centers for companies like 365 Data Centers and DuPont Fabros Technology. Since 2010, nearly $650 million has been invested in new corporate infrastructure in Bolingbrook. This surge in tech business is bringing high-paying jobs, spurring real estate development, and transforming the local economy.
Access to Tech Talent and Infrastructure
One factor attracting companies to Bolingbrook is its proximity to Chicago and access to the region’s deep talent pool of tech professionals. This is a sentiment echoed by John Goodrich of I Buy IL, Bolingbrook, Chicago. Many employees can experience suburb living without a difficult commute. Bolingbrook is also located near highways, O’Hare and Midway airports, and fiber optic infrastructure, other keys for tech business.
Bolingbrook has worked to create an attractive climate for companies through tax incentives, fast permitting, and other business-friendly policies. For example, a streamlined process allows new data centers to be approved in 6 weeks versus 6 months in other places. The village also designated an enterprise zone to offer tax breaks for new development.
Affordable Cost of Living and Housing
Compared to Chicago, Bolingbrook boasts more affordable housing, cost of living, and commercial real estate. Families can find good public schools and amenities without downtown prices. Companies get quality office space for nearly half the rent costs per square foot.
Quality of Life and Recreation
Bolingbrook offers a balanced lifestyle appealing to families and younger professionals. The village has an extensive park district, golf courses, youth sports leagues, shopping centers, and other suburban perks. The commute to downtown Chicago is 45 minutes by car or train for access to urban amenities.
Emerging Startup Culture
Coworking spaces, incubators, meetups, and events are starting to build an entrepreneurial community. Impact Engine opened a 12,000 sq. ft. coworking campus to host startup teams. Events like Bolingbrook Innovation Days connect local talent and businesses. The suburbs are an unexpected frontier for startups in the Chicago region.
Major Companies Betting on Bolingbrook
Major technology firms and Fortune 500 companies are choosing Bolingbrook for regional hubs. Amazon, Microsoft, Softext, and Brivo Systems built data centers to take advantage of fiber optic networks, reliable power grids, and cheaper land. UL, ThermFlo, and Otis Elevator moved their headquarters to the area. Health insurance giants Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna opened offices tapping into the talent pool.
Logistics and Distribution Infrastructure
Bolingbrook is a leading hub for logistics in the Midwest with access to rail, interstates, O’Hare, and inland ports. DHL, Kuehne + Nagel, Geodis, and Ozburn-Hessey Logistics operate large facilities to distribute goods globally and across the country. This expertise in logistics is a strategic asset for e-commerce and supply chain tech companies.
Manufacturing remains an important industry supporting technology growth. Bolingbrook is home to facilities for companies like Anheuser-Busch, Champion Petfoods, Lyon Workspace Products, and ULTA Beauty. Flex space allows companies to pilot advanced manufacturing with robotics and 3D printing. Business partnerships connect these firms with the region’s research assets.
Higher Education Partners
Nearby universities aid recruitment and research partnerships. The University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, and Argonne National Laboratory provide R&D expertise. Lewis University’s College of Business & Technology fosters local talent. Schools supply interns and graduates to the workforce.
Municipal Investments in Tech Infrastructure
Bolingbrook continues to invest in next-generation infrastructure appealing to tech firms. In 2019, the village installed 38 miles of conduit for high-speed fiber optic cables. Bolingbrook also has a robust smart city program adopting IoT technology, analytics software, and data integration across municipal departments.
Bolingbrook offers a unique blend of suburban quality of life, proximity to a major city, business-friendly policies, affordable costs, and infrastructure assets that technology and innovative companies are finding highly attractive. With continued public and private investments, Bolingbrook seems poised to enhance its reputation as an unexpected rising star for suburban tech and innovation. Alongside this technological growth, the real estate market is also booming, with companies like John Goodrich of I Buy IL, Bolingbrook, Chicago offering fast and efficient home buying services, contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.