GE Location in Seaport District could be a Boon for Chelsea

While most officials and business leaders for the City of Boston and for Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration are doing flips over the news of General Electric’s decision to locate its world headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District, there’s good reason for Chelsea officials and residents to perhaps turn some cartwheels over the news as well.

General Electric (GE) made the announcement last week, noting that 800 jobs would come with the move. Some of those jobs would be new and meant to be filled by local residents, while others would be transferred in positions – requiring new homes to be found.

With the Silver Line expansion underway in Chelsea, a clear path will lead right to those jobs and others in the Seaport just a few years from now.

State Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Chelsea’s former city manager, said he feels Chelsea is perfectly positioned to take advantage of announcements like GE’s in the Seaport District.

“As Boston’s Seaport District continues to grow in prominence, and GE’s announcement last week shows just how prominent it will be, the connectivity that the Silver Line will provide to Chelsea again highlights why so many of us thought the new service would be so important for Chelsea’s residents,” said Ash, who had championed the idea for nearly 15 years before it came to fruition. “There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of great paying jobs that will be created in the Seaport District, and the ability of Chelsea’s residents to access them directly and quickly will open great job opportunities for them. Additionally, people working in the Seaport will find it convenient to live in Chelsea, thereby opening up new opportunities for the city to continue to be a terrific residential choice for those working in Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marriott hotel also benefit from being so close and so conveniently connected, as well.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said Chelsea does have reason to be optimistic about its newfound connectedness to the thriving Seaport District – where GE and other such companies could locate.

“Other than South Boston, we’re probably the closest residential area to the Seaport District and with new access to the Silver Line, maybe some of those people will want to live in Chelsea,” he said. “There are also a lot of opportunities for jobs for current Chelsea residents, perhaps at GE or any of the other companies there. I think it will pay dividends and this is one particular place where than new access might be of great benefit.”

Bringing General Electric’s operations to the Seaport District will cement the company as an anchor in the city’s innovation industry. The Commonwealth offered incentives up to $120 million through grants and other programs and up to $25 million was offered from the City of Boston in property tax relief. Additional incentives offered to General Electric include:

  • $1 million in grants for workforce training;
  • Up to $5 million for an innovation center to forge connections between GE, innovators from Massachusetts research institutions and the higher education community;
  • Commitment to existing local transportation improvements in the Seaport District;
  • Appointment of a joint relocation team to ease the transition for employees moving to Boston;
  • Assistance for eligible employees looking to buy homes in the Boston area.

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