CHICAGO (CBS) – Boeing announced Thursday that it is moving its global headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
The aerospace giant already has an office in the Arlington Crystal City area, where employees support a variety of corporate functions and work on advanced aircraft developments and autonomous systems, the press release said.
The relocation of headquarters to Arlington will bring Boeing closer to key customers such as representatives of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, the company said. The move will also bring Boeing closer to federal regulators.
In addition to relocating the company’s headquarters to the Arlington campus, Boeing also plans to set up a research and technology center to attract engineering and technical talent.
Boeing doesn’t leave Chicago at all. A press release said the company would maintain a “significant presence” at its Chicago office at 100 N. Riverside Plaza in West Loop Gate.
“We value our long-standing relationship in Chicago and across Illinois. We look forward to maintaining a strong presence in the city and state,” Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a press release.
Boeing has said it has implemented “flexible and virtual solutions” so not everyone needs to be in the office more and requires less office space. Boeing’s Chicago office will now need fewer office space for employees to work there.
“In today’s business environment, we have adopted a flexible work strategy in some parts of our company and are taking steps to be more effective in reducing floor space. This helps us to invest in our important production and engineering facilities and training resources, ”said Calhoun. in a news release.
The press release did not specify what exactly will be involved in Boeing’s plans to reduce the area in Chicago.
Mayor Laurie Lightfoot made the following statement in response to the Boeing announcement:
“Chicago is a world-class city, and 173 corporations have moved and expanded here in the last year, and 67 corporations have made the same decision since early 2022. Although Boeing has decided to relocate its headquarters to another city, they still maintain a presence in Chicago. We have a solid chain of major corporate relocations and expansions, and we look forward to more announcements in the coming months. It remains true that Chicago is a major hub for global operations that recognize our diversity of workforce, extensive infrastructure, and thriving economies. ”
Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker issued the following statement:
“Illinois incentives for Boeing headquarters in Chicago ended in 2017. While we would like to discuss options with the company before news of its relocation appears, we will continue to support other Boeing work in the state, including 300 new jobs in the Stingray Navy project below. ”
Sources said in talks with the state that Boeing confirmed that the state’s business climate was not a deciding factor in the decision to relocate headquarters.
Boeing has moved its global headquarters from Seattle to Chicago back in 2001.
The company also has a large hangar at Gary / Chicago International Airport to accommodate some corporate aircraft.
At the time, the seduction of Boeing in Chicago was a very competitive process.
Then the governor. George Ryan was at the bottom of the ladder to greet Boeing executives when they chose Chicago at the time. Charlie De Mar of CBS 2 caught up with Ryan on Thursday.
“We offered them everything they could afford, and we made a deal, and – and they came, and it was a great program,” Ryan said. “I’m sorry to hear they’re leaving.”
Gov. Ryan played an important role in bringing Boeing to Chicago. The aircraft maker has been offered a controversial package of $ 60 million in tax breaks for about 20 years. But, as noted in Pritzker’s office, these incentives have expired.
“I’m sure we wouldn’t have made the deal if we didn’t think it was good for Illinois,” Ryan said.
Paul O’Connor, then executive director of World Business Chicago, led the city’s marketing efforts to attract Boeing by beating Dallas and Denver.
“If you feel like a champion, it’s all together,” said O’Connor.
He decided to focus on how Chicago benefited from Boeing’s 2001 transition.
“You have to put it in the context of all the good things they’ve done and how strategically they’ve raised us over the last 20 years,” O’Connor said.
This move also occurs when the company is faced with several controversies. His Airliners 737 Max were stopped after two accidents that killed hundreds of people and production shortages slowed delivery 787 Dreamliner.
“The company is really focused on Washington, both with regulatory security clearance and to get some of Washington’s financial support,” said Joe Schwitterman, a transport expert at DePolo University.
Schwitterman added that in a sense, reality did not live up to expectations when it came to the relocation of Boeing’s headquarters in Chicago.
“The Boeing was a big feather in our cap, but the magic of the Boeing, I think, never achieved what they had hoped for. Their hearts were still in Seattle,” Schwitterman said. “It’s a blow to our city, I mean, to our ego, you might say.”
“People just need to move on, and they need to move on positively, boldly and move on to the next chapter,” O’Connor added.
Boeing was founded in Seattle in 1916 by a wooden descendant of William Boeing, who originally built wooden seaplanes.