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General Electric to move headquarters to Boston

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Updated Jan. 14, 2016 at 8:03 AM

FAIRFIELD , Conn., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- General Electric Co. will move its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Boston to capitalize on the city's high-tech reputation, the company announced.

GE, famous for heavy industry but now concentrating on software and sensors for its products, will sell its corporate facilities in Fairfield, Conn., and New York City to help pay for the move.

It employs 800 people at its Fairfield headquarters, the same number expected to work it its new Boston office. About 200 people working in Boston were expected to be corporate staff while the rest will be "digital industrial product managers, designers and developers" in data analysis, life sciences and robotics.

The move is part of an attempt to rebrand the old company -- started in 1892 with Thomas Edison as a founder -- as a digital leader and not merely the world's largest industrial company.

Boston was chosen over New York, San Francisco and other contenders largely because of its proximity to talent, GE said. The new headquarters will be in the city's Seaport District, a hotbed of high-tech start-ups and venture capital firms, and surrounded by 55 colleges and universities, many with elite reputations in the computer and software fields.

The region is "an ecosystem that shares our aspirations," said GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt in a statement.

GE has more than 350,000 employees worldwide and a market value of nearly $290 billion. Persuading the company to move to Boston involved city and state tax incentives and grants of $145 million at a time when Connecticut is considering raising taxes on businesses.

Employees will begin the move this summer to a temporary location and the final move is expected to be completed by 2018.

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