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Libertyville mayor ‘disappointed’ by Motorola move

MotorolMobility will occupy top four floors rooftop Merchandise Mart. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Motorola Mobility will occupy the top four floors and rooftop of the Merchandise Mart. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 26, 2012 1:55AM

LIBERTYVILLE — Mayor Terry Weppler said he was disappointed, but not surprised by Motorola Mobility’s decision to move its headquarters from Libertyville to Chicago.

Weppler said he heard rumors about a potential move have been flying since the merger between Google and Motorola Mobility was announced earlier this year.

“It’s probably been the worst-kept secret in the world,” he said. “I think everybody was aware of this potential. I’m disappointed, absolutely, but Libertyville will survive.”

Weppler said he has talked with Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside and he believes they will find a suitable tenant to fill the Motorola building on Route 45.

“It’s tough, but I feel worse for the families of Motorola employees that will be impacted by this,” he said.

The company announced Thursday it will move its Libertyville headquarters — and 3,000 workers — to the top four floors and rooftop of the Merchandise Mart, becoming the landmark building’s largest tenant with 600,000 square feet.

Motorola Mobility, the cellphone and TV set-top-box divisions of the old Motorola Inc., was bought by search giant Google for $12.5 billion on May 22, and is run out of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

But Mobility executives pledged a year before the Google takeover to keep Mobility’s well-paying engineering, finance, marketing, design and executive jobs in Illinois so Mobility could benefit from statewide tax credits worth more than $100 million over a 10-year period.

Gov. Pat Quinn said he gave Google “permission” to move from Libertyville to downtown Chicago, since that was the location Google preferred.

At the same time, Quinn said he told Motorola Mobility executives he expects them “to work very hard ... to help all these people who are working for Motorola now to be able to get down to their jobs in downtown Chicago. If they have to use extra transportation to do it, so be it.”

Mobility will invest $300 million in the move to Chicago, which includes a 15-year lease. Workers will begin moving in next summer, continuing through the fall. No opening date is set.

Woodside said Mobility will work with the village of Libertyville on the future of the company’s building and real estate in the suburb.

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