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Boeing chooses Chicago
May 10, 2001: 3:47 p.m. ET

Windy City beats out Denver and Dallas in luring aircraft maker from Seattle
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Boeing Co. said Thursday it picked Chicago for its new corporate headquarters, over Dallas and Denver, in a restructuring move aimed at cutting costs and putting its three divisions on a more equal footing.

Boeing (BA: up $0.95 to $65.95, Research, Estimates) CEO Philip Condit said during a press conference at Midway Airport in Chicago Thursday that no one single factor resulted in the choice.

"This is an exciting moment for Boeing. We are in the midst of transforming this company," Condit said. "We're building a Boeing for the future that is growing. It is going to be competitive wherever we go. This transformation is about growth. It's about new products, new services. It's about creating value for our shareholders and creating opportunities for our employees.

Some of the factors in the company's decision included the business climate, quality of life, and the education environment, Condit said.

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graphicCNNfn's Lisa Leiter reports on Boeing's plans to move its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago.
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Condit gave no details of the incentive package that helped Chicago land the world's largest aerospace manufacturer. But he said last month that he believed incentives and cost savings associated with the move would cover the cost of relocating from the company's long-time Seattle home.

Illinois Governor George Ryan said during the press conference that Boeing's relocation to Chicago would have a nearly $5 billion economic impact on the state.

He said the move provides tax incentives to the state and that it would provide a return ratio for Illinois of 110:1 for each dollar invested in the deal.

"These incentives are coming because Boeing is bringing new revenue to Illinois that otherwise would not have been available," Ryan said.

Boeing officials had promised a selection by May 16 in order to have a temporary office open by the start of the new school year. The new office is to be open by Sept. 4 at 100 North Riverside Plaza in downtown Chicago. Boeing plans to keep its huge aircraft factories and development facilities in the Seattle area, where the company was founded in 1916.

Artist's drawing of Boeing's proposed headquarters in Chicago. (Source: Boeing)
Only about half the current 1,000 headquarters employees will be needed at the new location, with Boeing taking the opportunity to reorganize and shave its corporate staff.

Boeing shocked employees and Seattle officials with its March 21 announcement that it would move its headquarters to either the Chicago, Dallas, or Denver metropolitan areas. Company officials have visited all three cities, each of which offered millions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives.

The company said it wanted to relocate its headquarters away from Seattle to give it distance from its commercial aircraft operations based there, and place the unit on a more equal footing with its military and space units.

In recent days speculation had turned to Chicago, although some sources there said that Dallas had been in the running up until talks concluded Wednesday. Meanwhile, Denver officials reportedly had not heard from Boeing officials for some time, suggesting that the city finished third in the competition.

Boeing said it needed to move from Seattle to create distance between corporate headquarters and its commercial aircraft plants, which will remain in the Seattle area. (Source: Boeing)
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The company tried to cushion the blow for its longtime home, saying it would have been a fine location if it had not already been the home of its commercial aircraft division. But the move is seen as a blow to the Seattle area, which already is suffering from the downturn in the technology sector. graphic