Don’t Panic: The Bright Side to GE’s Relocation

By Sarah Pritchard


Don’t panic, GE’s move is not the end of the world – it’s actually a time for new opportunity. Since the announcement and initial shock felt around Connecticut, we have gathered the facts.

The doors shutting on GE mean the doors opening to a new company in Connecticut, or a chance for new businesses, new homes to be built on that land, a school, a rec area, shops, restaurants, endless possibilities and new beginnings.

Many people have speculated that GE’s move is due to taxes but their move is really based on re-branding the company and their desire to be closer to a more tech-trend area like Boston.

The change seemed to be earth shattering weeks ago, but next week, next month, and over the next few years this will bring new people to town, both in the work force and home life. Homes might go up for sale that wouldn’t have in the first place, giving people a chance to finally find their dream home in Fairfield, Easton, Westport, Trumbull and surrounding towns, moving new people to our towns.

Fairfield County was not built on GE nor was it built around the idea of GE.  General Electric was on the edge of town, a small existence in such a large, sought after town. GE is not what drew people to our towns.  Our safe, successful school system, beautiful beaches, hiking trails, lakes, quiet neighborhoods, fabulous, ever growing night life, mom and pop shops, easy access to highways and the trains to both NYC and New Haven are what draw people to Fairfield and surrounding towns.  When we talk about the impacts of GE moving, we must remember that it’s minor and when we refer to Fairfield we are referring to Fairfield County, not just the town GE has been nestled in.

Having been in Real Estate for many years, I can tell you that not one buyer ever said to me, “I am moving here because this is where GE is,” or a seller saying, “We are selling but need to stay close to GE.”

GE has many offices all over the state of Connecticut, with its headquarters in Fairfield. The headquarters is home to 800 employees, 200 of whose jobs will be moved to the Boston office, and the remaining 600 will be dispersed to the many offices in Stamford, Norwalk, and New Haven, keeping these employees in Connecticut. There are roughly 5,000 GE employees in Connecticut.

We sat in a meeting with First Selectman Mike Tetreau and learned that this is going to be a process over the next 2 years. Some people may be moving as early as this summer and the transition will be completed by 2018.

Our First Selectman informed us that the weekend GE announced their departure, Kleban Properties was in direct contact with GE, striking up a conversation of new possibilities.

With an estimated population in Fairfield County of 939,000, GE has roughly 7,000 employees in Connecticut. That is only 0.7% of our Fairfield County population.  If we put that in terms of something attainable, like money, 0.7% or .007 of $100,000 would mean roughly $700-$1,000 for the year.  Missing 0.7% of something won’t make or break us.  It would be nice to have, but it won’t impact things like major media outlets have stated.  GE will continue to pay taxes in CT until they have sold off the space to someone else and then the next owner will continue to pay taxes and bring in revenue to the state.

WNPR wrote an article in June 2015 about Connecticut’s new tax on corporations and stated that it is not only long overdue, but a trend picking up across America.  Connecticut is not the first state to do this. Connecticut imposed a plan that stated that companies like GE can’t just report their taxes to the lowest tax rate state that they do business in, they need to pay the proper taxes in the proper state. Supposedly GE has not been paying state income taxes so Connecticut has been losing out.  Of course, the people who live in Connecticut and work for GE have been paying their own taxes, it’s a catch-22.

“A GE spokesman responded to this story with the following statement: ‘GE paid $3.0 billion in cash income taxes worldwide last year, including in the U.S. In addition, GE paid more than $1 billion in other U.S. state, local and federal taxes.’ However, Connecticut figures are not available, as the corporation does not break down its tax liabilities on a state-by-state basis.”

—Harriet Jones, WNPR

Furthermore, this transition gives another company a chance to move to town with the competition of GE gone.  This gives an entrepreneur (or many!) the opportunity to finally start that business they have been striving to. This will not break us. We are Fairfield County. We are not a company state and we are certainly not a company town. We aren’t a small town on the map because of GE, but in fact we are a small state with big potential!

GE, we wish you the best in your new adventure. Buyers—keep coming to Connecticut, a small state with more packed in to it than most large states—and Sellers, if you are making a move be it downsizing, upgrading, going South or going North, call us, we know how to market to the right, incoming buyers!

real estate logo
Shoshana Snyder

Shoshana Snyder

Sarah Pritchard

Sarah Pritchard

Contact +