Business

Boston submits formal bid for GE headquarters

The company began looking to leave Fairfield, Conn., last year after state legislators threatened to raise corporate taxes.

Bob Child/Associated Press/File 2002

The company began looking to leave Fairfield, Conn., last year after state legislators threatened to raise corporate taxes.

The city of Boston and the state have submitted their formal proposal to bring General Electric Co.’s world headquarters to Boston, and some participants in the process are hopeful about the region’s prospects, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The industrial conglomerate continues to focus on locations on the South Boston waterfront, including a property owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority and another on Summer Street. Local officials are awaiting word from Fairfield, Conn.-based GE, which they think could come as soon as this week.

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If GE does move to Boston, it would probably provide a massive psychic boost, on top of an economic lift, to the city, highlighting the burgeoning high-tech climate in the state’s business community.

Representatives of GE and the Baker and Walsh administrations declined to comment.

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The company began looking to move out of Connecticut last year after state legislators threatened to raise corporate taxes. Chief executive Jeffrey Immelt, in a widely cited letter to employees in June, said he had assembled a team to look into the company’s options “to relocate corporate HQ to another state with a more pro-business environment.”

GE has been based in Fairfield since the mid-1970s.

Representatives for the company have been tight-lipped about the finalists in the search. Other cities that have been or are being considered by GE include New York, Providence, and Atlanta.

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“I would say the common thinking today is that Connecticut comes in third place, at the highest,” said Scott Frantz, a Republican state senator from Fairfield County.

While the company has not ruled out staying in Fairfield, Immelt has been frank about the reasons for looking elsewhere.

“We’re a company that . . . doesn’t look for special deals, but we need an ecosystem that’s forward-looking, that’s future-looking,” he told the Business Council of Fairfield County in November, as reported by the Stamford Advocate.

Boston and state officials have been in frequent discussions over the past weeks with each other and with GE to nail down details.

Shirley Leung can be reached at shirley.leung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @leung. Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.
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