GE Heads to Boston

GE delivered some big news this week with the announcement that the company will be moving its global headquarters to Boston from Fairfield, Conn.
Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart, SVP, Savills Studley

GE announced that it will move its global headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to the Seaport District of Boston, Mass., in a move that could have a significant impact on the surrounding area.

“I think it’s a really big win for Boston and the metro area,” Mark Stewart, Savills Studley’ senior vice president and New England branch manager, told CPE. “GE is a big name, and it’s a validation of a lot of the things Boston has that are somewhat unique.”

The $130 billion high-tech global industrial company decided to relocate to Boston in part because of an ecosystem that shares the company’s aspirations.

“GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world,” Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman & CEO, said in a prepared release. “Massachusetts spends more on research and development than any other region in the world, and Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world. We are excited to bring our headquarters to this dynamic and creative city.”

GE worked with Massachusetts and the City of Boston to structure a package of incentives that provides benefits to the state and city, while also helping to offset the costs of the relocation.

“It seems to be a very much incentive-driven situation so I hope that works out well for the Commonwealth,” he said. “The DNA of the area is the progeny of past generations and centuries of development and Boston has really held on to the heritage of exploration and expansion.”

Although GE has been scouting new locations for three years and Boston was rumored to be on the shortlist, Stewart told CPE the announcement still came as somewhat of a surprise to many in the industry, but that it seems to be welcome news.

In GE’s new Boston headquarters, the company will have roughly 800 people; 200 corporate staff and 600 digital industrial product managers, designers and developers split between GE Digital, Current, Robotics and Life Sciences. Additionally, a GE Digital Foundry will be created for co-creation, incubation and product development with customers, startups and partners.

“The demographics, the labor pool, and educational institutions are all positives to the area. The overall area, as far as habitability and quality of life, is pretty high,” Stewart said. “The transit to and from the airport that they can use to get around the world was also probably a significant factor.”

Employees will move to a temporary location in Boston starting in the summer of 2016, and a full move will be completed in several steps by 2018.