GE will move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston - WFSB 3 Connecticut

GE will move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston

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General Electric is moving its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston. (WFSB) General Electric is moving its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston. (WFSB)

General Electric officials announced its corporate headquarters in Connecticut will move to Boston.

The corporate headquarters for General Electric is located in Fairfield and the company is one of the largest employers in Connecticut.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement on its website that Boston will be the next location of the company’s corporate office. The headquarters will be moved to the Seaport District of Boston.

“Today, GE is a $130 billion high-tech global industrial company, one that is leading the digital transformation of industry. We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations. Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities,” Immelt said in the statement posted on the GE website. “Massachusetts spends more on research & 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.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he was "disappointed" at press conference in Middletown on Wednesday afternoon. He added transportation in Boston was a major selling point for GE.

"We're not going to win every challenge to keep (businesses) but we've won more than we've lost," Malloy said. 

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh celebrated the GE move to Boston. 

"General Electric's choice to move to Boston is the result of the city's willingness and excitement to work creatively and collaboratively to bring positive activity to our local economy and continue to grow our industries. Boston is delighted and honored to welcome General Electric and its employees to our community and we are confident that this is the start of a strong partnership," Walsh said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Immelt said the company has been planning to move its headquarters for three years and in June 2015, they looked at 40 potential locations. In June, GE said it would consider moving out of its Fairfield headquarters due to recent tax increases

“Boston was selected after a careful evaluation of the business ecosystem, talent, long-term costs, quality of life for employees, connections with the world and proximity to other important company assets,” the statement said.

The move to Boston is expected to have “no material financial impact to GE.”

“Working with GE, Massachusetts and the City of Boston structured a package of incentives that provides benefits to the State and City, while also helping offset the costs of the relocation to GE,” the statement said.

GE was given $120 million through grants and other programs and up to $25 million was offered from the city of Boston in property tax relief. The company also received $1 million in grants for workforce training, up to $5 million for an innovation center to forge connections between GE, innovators from Massachusetts research institutions and the higher education community as well as a joint relocation team to ease the transition for employees moving to Boston.

"Our administration welcomes GE’s decision to take advantage of the unique resources that our state has to offer, ranging from our innovative economy to top universities. In addition to adding hundreds of high-paying jobs to our state, we look forward to partnering with GE to achieve further growth across a spectrum of industries and are confident GE will flourish in the Commonwealth's inventive economy," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement on Wednesday. 

There are currently 800 people employed at the GE headquarters in Fairfield and 5,700 total in Connecticut. 

GE said the company will sell its offices in Fairfield and at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

In part in a statement, Malloy said "today’s decision is a clear signal that Connecticut must continue to adapt to a changing business climate."

Malloy continued, saying "Taken as a whole, there is no denying that Connecticut has had more good days than days like today. Of course we are disappointed, and we know that many in Connecticut share that frustration. While GE’s headquarters may be leaving, I have been assured that the company will continue to have many employees working here in Connecticut. Equally important, GE will continue to work with and support many smaller businesses throughout our state."

To read Gov. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Wyman's full statements, click here.

Employees will have to move to a temporary Boston location in summer of 2016. The move should be complete by 2018.

U.S. Congressman John Larson told Eyewitness News that GE leaving Connecticut is "disappointing," but "not the end of world." 

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano called the move "devastating" and added Connecticut residents "deserve an apology."

“They deserve an apology from every Democrat lawmaker whose disrespectful comments mocked companies like GE when they raised legitimate concerns about the state budget. These same Democrats then had to backtrack, after they forced legislation upon companies without listening to them or even having a conversation about their perspective," Fasano said in statement on Wednesday. 

To read his full statement, click here.

Senate President Martin M. Looney also released a statement on the move by GE. 

“General Electric is rebranding its image and shifting its central business platform away from heavy industry and financial services to digital software and technology, changing the very structure and composition of its headquarters. While I am disappointed that GE has chosen to relocate its headquarters, given all the facts, moving some of their employees to Boston's Seaport matches their shift in business strategy,” Looney said in a statement on Wednesday.

To read the full statement, click here

The Republican Governors Association released a statement on GE's move and cited Gov. Dan Malloy's anti-business policies for the move. 

"General Electric's decision to move their headquarters and jobs from Connecticut to Massachusetts is a direct result of Democrat Gov. Dan Malloy's failed leadership and eagerness to drive business out of his state through job-killing policies. GE made it clear to Malloy that if he pushed his $1.2 billion tax hike on business, they would leave. Now, they are making good on that promise. This action by GE further proves that Malloy, as the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, will be a major liability to Democrat gubernatorial candidates everywhere in 2016," RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson said in Wednesday. 

To read the full statement by GE, click here.

In a statement, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said "GE’s decision to relocate across the border to downtown Boston is certainly disappointing, yet we remain a favored location for companies to thrive. It appears, particularly from GE’s advertising, that their decision is not about taxes but more about rebranding into a high-tech company, and Boston is well known as a high-tech industry hub. Connecticut’s piece of the corporate pie remains strong, and our state’s ongoing commitment to work closely with business leaders to encourage future economic growth will ensure we continue to be a great place to live, work, and raise a family for years to come.”

The National Federation of Independent Business said the state has "unfortunately continued down a path of unrealistic, unsustaintable budgeting practices, coupled with progressive, business killing policies and the results have been a complete disaster not only for the small business community, but for those in corporations as well."

“General Electric is leaving because it is more economically feasible for them to relocate hundreds of employees to Massachusetts than remain located here with the fiscal instability and uncertainty that the state of Connecticut offers. Unfortunately most small businesses in our state do not have the resources that General Electric does and their only alternative is to close up their shops permanently," NFIB Connecticut state director Andrew Markowski said in a statement on Wednesday. 

To read the NFIB statement, click here. 

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