A deal to buy two old warehouses in Fort Point for General Electric’s future headquarters is moving forward, with construction work starting as early as this fall.
The board of MassDevelopment, the quasi-public economic development agency, on Thursday authorized the purchase of the six-story, 55,000-square-foot buildings at 5 and 6 Necco Court as well as an acre that would be set aside for open space. The board also authorized the agency to apply for up to $120 million in state grants to assist with the purchase and improvements of the property.
The two Necco buildings are part of the 2.5-acre section of Gillette’s Fort Point campus that GE has an agreement to buy for its future headquarters. MassDevelopment officials said that when that deal closes, the property will be subdivided in three sections: one acre that will be set aside for open space, roughly one half-acre where the two Necco buildings sit, and roughly one acre for GE to build a 293,000-square-foot structure.
At the time of the deal’s closing, which is expected to happen in September, MassDevelopment will take ownership of the open space parcel and the piece with the two existing Necco structures. GE will own the third parcel, where its new structure will go up, and will lease the two Necco buildings from MassDevelopment.
The main reason for MassDevelopment’s participation: to allow state funds to be used to prepare the property for GE’s use.
MassDevelopment chief executive Marty Jones said the goal is to get construction at the two older buildings started this fall.
“The idea is to get in there as quickly as possible to stabilize the buildings and start the work,” Jones said. “We are certainly very excited about the opportunity to be a part of the transaction. It is moving quite quickly. We are certainly hopeful that the process will continue to move along.”
Jones declined to say what MassDevelopment is paying for the properties. She also declined to disclose the terms of the lease with GE, saying details are still being negotiated.
GE spokeswoman Susan Bishop said company executives are pleased to see the continued progress on the headquarters project.
”[We] look forward to working together to transform the Necco buildings and surrounding area into a world class innovation campus,” Bishop said in an email.
GE executives plan to complete the renovations of the two Necco buildings and the construction of the new one in time for a 2018 occupancy. In the meantime, GE executives are moving from GE’s current Fairfield, Conn., headquarters into temporary space on nearby Farnsworth Street this summer.
About 800 GE employees are expected to work at the new campus after it opens in 2018.
The Walsh and Baker administrations used the promise of up to $120 million in state grant funds as well as up to $25 million in property tax relief to help win a fierce contest in January among a number of cities that were wooing GE.