GE to Scale Back Boston HQ, Will Reimburse $87 Million Back to State

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A rendering of the GE headquarters in Boston's Seaport (Credit: Gensler Architecture)

BOSTON—It was only in January 2016 that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker celebrated General Electric’s decision to relocate their world headquarters to Boston to take advantage of Boston and the Commonwealth’s innovative and competitive economy and access to human capital and world-class educational institutions.

On Thursday, General Electric said that it plans to sell its future Seport headquarters property and reimburse $87 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in incentives GE received to move here. GE was expected to bring approximately 800 high-paying jobs to Boston with this move.

“The board of MassDevelopment — a quasi-public agency that owns part of the property — approved a plan Thursday to jointly market the 2.7-acre site with GE. The sale proceeds will reimburse the agency for the $87.4 million in state money that has been used to acquire and prepare the Fort Point parcel,” reported Boston Globe. “GE, however, is not leaving Boston. The struggling company said it will still move in August into two brick buildings on the same site at Necco Court after renovations are completed, but won’t come close to creating the 800 jobs it originally promised in return for receiving generous incentives.”

Boston Globe said that GE also confirmed what has been widely assumed for a while: It has no plans to proceed with construction of the striking 12-story tower next door that it originally envisioned. “The company owns the portion of the property where its nearly 300,000-square-foot tower would have gone, while MassDevelopment owns the two existing buildings,” Boston Globe said.

Instead of a grander headquarters with at least 800 workers, GE now expects to employ about 250 people in the 95,000-square-foot Necco complex, according to Boston Globe. “That’s slightly more than the number of people who already work at GE’s nearby rented corporate offices,” reported Globe.