You have no doubt heard about the General Electric (GE) Company’s plans to relocate its Corporate Headquarters from Connecticut to South Boston’s Fort Point District. Specifically, GE’s new Headquarters will be sited on the South Boston side of the Fort Point Channel, and will utilize two existing, renovated brick warehouses at 5-6 Necco Way (Yes, that’s “NECCO”, as in those ever-popular NECCO Wafers produced by the New England Confectionary Co.).
GE will lease a block of land from Procter and Gamble’s wholly-owned Gillette subsidiary, which is also located along the Fort Point Channel. Renovations of the existing brick warehouses will begin as soon as possible; ground will be broken for the main Headquarters Building early in 2017, pending granting of all the necessary permits. Completion is targeted for the end of 2018, when full relocation will get underway in two phases. Temporary offices for GE’s relocation team will open on Farnsworth Street essentially immediately – during August. When the entire project is complete, it will amount to 400,000 square feet under roof. Ultimately, some 800 GE employees will be located here.
The proposed Headquarters Building is nothing short of striking, in particular its photovoltaic, power-generating “veil”. It blends well with Fort Point – in part because it incorporates two existing red brick industrial buildings; in part because it forms a kind of pedestrian “GE Plaza right by the Fort Point Channel watersheet. The new building has 12 stories, two of which will be devoted to GE’s executive functions. The other spaces will be for creative and/or technical innovations. There will be substantial public space on the lower floors – a topic for future articles in South Boston Online.
GE’s future business plans are ambitious and highly technical – they wish to become the leader in designing and manufacturing digitally “smart” machines that have sensors and controls literally embedded in the equipment itself. GE will be a fitting addition to South Boston technology scene, especially with the plans it has to reach out to our community of students, museum-goers, and even coffee shop customers. More about those plans later. Meanwhile, they’ll be joining Procter and Gamble/Gillette and even NECCO as world-renowned manufacturers and marketers from Boston.
Tuesday evening, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (the BRA) held the first of many meetings on the GE Headquarters Project. This was sort of a “preliminary“ meeting, designed to ensure that those who attended understood the BRA’s oversight role in this project. Nineteen (19) people were present, ranging from Vinny Coyle from Ironworkers Local 7, to John Allison from Mayor Walsh’s office, to interested Fort Point residents, to the BRA’s personnel themselves.
The meeting in the BRA’s offices was generally positive, and its atmosphere was encouraging to the GE Headquarters Project. Specific mention was made of the Fort Point “Hundred Acre” zoning plan; assurance was rendered that this will be incorporated into GE’s plan. Formal Public Meetings have been scheduled for August 17 and September 7. Input from all interested residents of South Boston is encouraged – it’s your neighborhood that will be affected by GE’s Headquarters relocation, so plan to attend and make your own feelings known. Interestingly, GE has already appointed a neighborhood liaison individual. His name is Peter Cavanaugh; his title is “General Electric Ecosystem Transformation Leader”. He wants to hear from the people of South Boston.