Candy giant Ferrero will open a 45,000-square-foot innovation facility in the historic Marshall Field and Co. Building in the Loop next year, the company announced Thursday.
New Jersey-based Ferrero North America, which is part of global confectionery company Ferrero Group, said in a press release that the new lab and offices on the eighth and ninth floors of the building will be completed in spring 2023. .
Ferrero will relocate corporate employees from its former post office, although subsidiary Ferrara Candy Co. will maintain its headquarters in the Old Post Office, where he moved from Oakbrook Terrace in 2019. The Marshall Field office will house 170 employees, most of them already based in Chicago, according to vice president of corporate communications Cheryll Forsatz.
Research and development at the facility will focus on new confectionery products and packaged sweet foods, according to Forsatz.
“Our goal for this space is to reflect Ferrero’s unique heritage and provide the opportunity to create greater synergies between our teams,” said Todd Siwak, president and chief commercial officer of Ferrero North America, in a statement.
The company said the move will take place in two phases, with employees moving into temporary office space in the Marshall Field building while construction is underway. Employees who work at cookie, cone and crust brands including Keebler, Famous Amos and Mother’s will move to the new facility, as will those who work at Fannie May, Forsatz said. Ferrara Candy Co. employees will remain in the company’s former post office.
The move won’t be Marshall Field’s first brush with the candy business: Field used to make his iconic Frango Mints in crucibles on the 13th floor of the building until the company announced it would move production out of state in 1999. The eighth through 14th floors of the building they have since been converted into office space and related services.
The Marshall Field Building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2005, the same year, Federated Department Stores purchased Field’s parent company and converted it into Macy’s. In 2018, Macy’s sold the upper floors of the building to Brookfield Properties, a branch of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management. Brookfield remodeled those floors in nearly 650,000 square feet of office space, and just over a third of that space is now leased.
Data and technology company Numerator has moved in, and education technology company Elevate K-12 will move in next week. occupying 60,000 and 20,000 square feet, respectively. Office spaces for online ticket broker Vivid Seats and coworking firm Industrious, both 47,000 square feet, are under construction. Those two companies are expected to move in by the end of the year.
Ferrero’s planned Marshall Field facility adds to another recent investment by the company in Illinois.
Last month, the company announced plans for a $214.4 million expansion of its downstate Bloomington facility, which he said would bring 200 jobs to the area. That expansion, which the company hopes to complete by 2024, comes after a $75 million investment in its first North American chocolate factory in Bloomington. The company started that project last year and it is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023.
Siwak said Thursday that he was proud of the company’s “growing presence in Illinois.” The company employs 1,400 people in the state, Forsatz said.
“We are delighted to join Ferrero as it announces that Chicago will be home to the company’s first innovation hub in the United States,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement Thursday. “Chicago is a global destination for innovation and Ferrero will be well located here, benefiting from the city’s connectivity to the world and its strong network of technology and innovation-driven companies.”
Lightfoot said he hoped “more businesses realize Chicago’s incredible potential.”
Last month, Kellogg Co. announced it would split into three companies, with his Chicago-based snack business. Ferrero acquired a piece of Kellogg’s North American snacks business in 2019.
But the city has also faced recent high-profile abdications. In June, Caterpillar announced that it would move its headquarters from Deerfield to Texas. And in May, Boeing announced plans to move its world headquarters from Chicago to Virginia.
Ferrero was founded in Italy in 1946. In addition to its stake in Kellogg’s snack business, in the past six years it has acquired Ferrara Candy, maker of Lemonheads, and Fannie May, a chocolate maker, both based in Chicago, as well as the business of Nestlé sweets in the United States.