Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

The Pros and Cons of GE's Move to Boston

The company’s announcement marks a greater shift toward innovation in our city centers, but a poor practice of taking money from taxpayers.
Construction in Boston's Seaport District
Construction in Boston's Seaport DistrictBill Sikes / AP Images

General Electric is the latest company to give up the suburbs for the city. News of GE’s move from its 1970s-style corporate campus in suburban Fairfield, Connecticut, to downtown Boston’s Seaport District has urbanists like me swooning. After all, it confirms much of what we’ve been saying for years: a massive corporation is moving to a dense, vibrant, walkable city center with abundant transit, lots of talent, superb universities, and great quality of place.

“We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspiration,” said GE’s CEO, Jeffrey R. Immelt, in his announcement of the deal. “Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities. 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.”