Caterpillar Inc. announced Friday that it is keeping its global headquarters in downtown Peoria and expanding its corporate campus in what it called a re-commitment to the central Illinois city.
CEO Doug Oberhelman told a crowd of about 200 people that after two years of study, the $55 billion global construction equipment maker will modernize its riverfront complex to include a three-tower building. The company said it will expand the site to 31 acres and six blocks and add amenities and innovative workspaces to "retain and attract the finest talent in the world."
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"Caterpillar will stay in Peoria," Oberhelman reassured the crowd to loud applause.
Oberhelman had complained about the state's business climate under Illinois' previous governor, Democrat Pat Quinn, and the company's initial announcement that it was studying options for its headquarters led to concerns it could be considering a move. Company officials have said throughout the process that their intent was to stay put.
Taking his turn at the podium, new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner called it an "outstanding day in Illinois and a great day for Peoria," and said Caterpillar could have gone anywhere.
Another major central Illinois employer, agribusiness firm Archer Daniels Midland Co., moved its international headquarters from Decatur to Chicago last year, and some had feared Caterpillar could make a similar departure.
Caterpillar, the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, has about 2,400 employees in its main headquarters building and 800 others spread around Peoria's downtown.