The company that former Mayor Richard Daley spent the last two years of his tenure courting announced Friday morning its expansion to Willis Tower.
United Airlines is moving 1,300 new jobs to the Tower, said United president and CEO Jeff Smisek. The new positions, which mostly will be based on the 10th floor, will support United’s global operations.
“As Chicago’s hometown airline, United is pleased to announce that we are bringing an additional 1,300 jobs downtown from locations throughout our system by the end of 2012,” said Smisek, who made the announcement on the 10th floor alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Willis Tower currently sits about 40 percent empty. Earlier this month, owners of the high-rise said they are considering selling the 4 million square-foot, 110-story building.
Emanuel said the jobs will help keep Chicago competitive with other cities in job growth.
"I will be convening an aviation conference here in Chicago," Emanuel said, "to keep our competitive edge."
"I will have more companies to announce in weeks ahead," he said.
More than 1 million square feet was leased in Willis Tower last year to tenants including the Chubb Group and United Airlines, but the tower is still 22.6 percent vacant.