GE picks a waterside location for Boston headquarters

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BOSTON – General Electric selected a location on the Fort Point Channel in South Boston’s Seaport District for the site of its new headquarters, and said about 800 people would be located in a three-building complex there once it’s finished in 2018.

The roughly 2.5-acre site, owned by Procter & Gamble’s Gillette unit, is off Necco Street, just south of Summer Street, and currently has two older and mostly empty buildings on it as well as an open parking lot, GE said Thursday in a statement.

“South Boston is a major hub for innovation and development and GE is excited to be a part of such a dynamic and creative ecosystem that is leading the future,” Ann Klee, a GE vice president, said in the statement. The company said it would sell its current headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, as well as its interest in New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza to offset the cost of the move.

Plans call for renovating the two older buildings and the construction of a new building in the parking lot area. By August, GE said it will have relocated some employees to a temporary location on Farnsworth Street in Boston, which is several blocks from the Necco site, off Congress Street.

The company, one of America’s largest industrial corporations, will place about 200 corporate headquarters staff at the site, as well as 600 “digital industrial product managers, designers and developers” working in the company’s digital unit, an energy services startup, and robotics and life sciences groups.

“GE plans to be an active part of the Boston community,” Klee said, including through volunteerism and generosity toward local organizations. “We believe that Boston can capture future growth in important new innovation in the industrial internet and advanced manufacturing.”

Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced the GE move to the city in January, pronouncing it as a major validation in the city’s efforts to create an Innovation District in South Boston’s Seaport area to generate jobs and tax revenue. But the efforts came at a cost, totaling some $151 million in incentives, according to official statements.

“For every dollar that was invested in GE being here,” said Jeffrey Immelt, the company’s chief executive, “you will get back 1,000-fold. Take my word for it.” He made the comment at a Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon Thursday, according to a Boston Globe report.

Walsh, in a recent speech to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, said tax revenue from the district has risen to $101 million this fiscal year from $16 million in 2005.