Caterpillar explores options for new headquarters location

By WEEK Producer

June 12, 2014 Updated Jun 12, 2014 at 10:13 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Caterpillar officials are now exploring their options for the future location of the company's world headquarters.

A company study to determine the location has now hit the two year mark with no definite plan in place.

Company officials released a statement today saying the focus is still on either renovating or building a new headquarters in downtown Peoria, but they are also looking at office space in East Peoria, Morton and Mossville.

The release says there is still great uncertainty globally that could impact the outcome of the study.

Company officials say they also remain concerned about the poor financial health of Illinois and how it will affect communities like Peoria.

Illinois state representative David Leitch said Caterpillar is probably the most important company in the state.

But he also said Illinois has a lot of work to do to keep CAT -- and other businesses here.

"We do not compete well with surrounding states, and I think not only is Caterpillar aware of that, I think many other companies are aware of that. We have a lot of work to do in Springfield to make ourselves attractive, to restore a good business climate in Illinois," said Representative Leitch.

Leitch said those issues include fixing the fact that Illinois has the worst credit rating in the country and making Illinois more business friendly so we bring companies in rather than run them out.

Illinois State Senator Darin Lahood agrees that Illinois isn't business friendly and said the legislature needs to focus on changing the business climate and improving the private sector -- which would ultimately grow the economy.

"How we make sure the next plant that Caterpillar builds is in Illinois and not in Athens, Georgia. How we make sure that John Deere has more employees in Illinois than they do in Iowa, or ADM and building their next plant in Illinois. We in Illinois can change that by focusing on fiscal discipline, worker's compensation costs, taxes, labor costs," said State Senator LaHood.

But Caterpillar officials said the company remains dedicated to helping Central Illinois move forward.

"I believe they still have confidence that one day Illinois will get its act together and get it straightened out. So I suspect that they are giving us the benefit of the doubt for now," Representative Leitch said.

Caterpillar has not released a deadline for its decision.