Want to follow the money when it comes to making the transition to a job in corporate America? A good way is to follow the real estate -- corporate real estate, that is. Site Selection magazine recently came out with its rundown of the top metro areas in the US when it comes to corporate construction. As one might say, with more offices comes more opportunity, and the cities below are building at the fastest pace in the nation.
Leading the pack in tier-one metro areas (population over one million) is Chicago. The Windy City area (Chicago-Naperville-Joliet to be precise) now hosts the fast-growing company Groupon, which is poised to take over the market in group discounts over social media, and saw 184 corporate real estate deals over the past year. but lest you think Groupon's success means Chicago is only going to be a town for tech-heads, traditional industries aren't getting ignored either: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois spent $270 million for office expansion, and U.S. Steel is making a $220 million investment to to modernize its plant in the area. Texas may not have the top city in this year's study, but it has the most new corporate real estate deals of any state, with 424. Houston led the way with 152 projects; according to a Brookings Institution report, Houston alone accounts for 23.9 percent of the state's jobs and 28.2 percent of the state's economic output -- sounds like a good place to start any job search. The Dallas-Fort Worth area came in third place in the Site Selection study with 127 real estate projects, and also accounts for Dallas has 27 percent of the state's jobs and 27.5 percent of the state's economic output. Ohio is still recovering from the recession, but it hasn't stopped them from corporate construction and expansion, as Cincinnati ranks fourth on the Site Selection list with 123 real estate projects. Fortunately, it's also a town that's easy to get around in: according to Kiplinger.com, the Cincinnati-Middletown area ranks as seventh-best in the country when it comes to commute time. Frank Sinatra says that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, and the opportunities to make it in the Big Apple have increased, or at least they have going by real estate expansion, with 120 projects in 2010. Looking to relocate to a metro area that's a little less heavily populated? The top city among "tier-two" towns (population between 200,000 and one million people) for corporate real estate developments is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which featured 78 projects in 2010 (Dayton, Ohio, and Spartanburg, South Carolina were second with 29 projects each). With all the hits Louisiana has taken over the years with Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, you'd think the region would be down for the count, and yet, Georgia Pacific, Exxon Mobil, BASF Corporation and Westlake Chemical Corporation have all invested over $300 million each in real estate development. If you're ready to jump into one of the metro areas above (or are just ready to jump in, period), then take the next step: