Friday, May 11, 2001

Boeing lands on Chicago as its new headquarters

The Associated Press

        CHICAGO — Boeing Co. Thursday selected Chicago as its new world headquarters, following an intense three-way sweepstakes that leaves the bulk of Boeing's Seattle work force behind.

        Passing over runners-up Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver, the aerospace giant ended two months of suspense and made final its decision to move its corporate office from the city where it was founded 85 years ago.

[photo] Boeing's new headquarters on the Chicago River previously was the home of the Morton International Co.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        Boeing executives informed the cities of the verdict after their corporate jet took off from Seattle for a secret destination that turned out to be Midway Airport in Chicago.

        “We looked at three very exciting metropolitan areas in which to base our company,” Boeing chairman Phil Condit said in a news release issued while the jet was in flight. “It was a very difficult decision.”

        Boeing brings fewer than 500 executives to Chicago but immediately becomes Illinois' biggest company. Its $51.3 billion in 2000 revenues will rank it ahead of Sears, Motorola, McDonald's and United Airlines.

        State and local officials were jubilant. The Illinois House burst into applause at the announcement.

        Boeing plans to move Sept. 4 to its new headquarters — a 36-story office tower on the west bank of the Chicago River, just north of the city's two main train stations. The building formerly was the headquarters of Morton International.

        The three cities had been competing since March, when Boeing announced plans to leave Seattle to save money and be more central to its operations in 26 states.

        Each city offered millions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives. But Chicago offered the sweetest deal — state income tax breaks and other aid estimated at $25 million to $30 million — and its central location and air links are unmatched.

        The company will keep its massive aircraft factories and design and development facilities in the Seattle area, where 79,000 of its 199,000 employees work.


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