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Boeing's Headquarters Set To Depart Chicago For Arlington, Virginia

Aerospace giant Boeing is reportedly planning to move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, in a shift intended to give top executives greater access to federal government officials and some of the nation’s largest military contractors.

Boeing's East Coast headquarters in Arlington, Virginia

A formal announcement could come as early as next week, following months of negotiations with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the Wall Street Journal first reported, citing people close to the deal. Virginia is likely to offer Boeing workforce-related enticements, but the deal isn’t expected to involve a significant incentive package.

The move would be a blow for Chicago’s troubled office market, where vacancy reached a record high in March, rising from 19.7% at the end of last year to hit 21.2%, according to CBRE. Boeing occupies roughly 300K SF across its Chicago offices.

All may not be lost for the Windy City — at least not yet. Crain's Chicago Business reported that a source close to the decision said it might not be final. Crain’s reported a move has been discussed for more than a year now, however, adding none of Boeing’s current leadership team is Chicago-based.

"It depends on the CEO," the source told Crain’s. "He's under a lot of pressure right now." 

More and more Boeing executives have worked out of the company’s D.C.-area offices in recent years, the WSJ reported, and the company in 2017 moved its defense unit HQ to Arlington from St. Louis, citing proximity to lawmakers and Pentagon procurement staff. That 450K SF office complex is two blocks from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2 near Long Bridge Park in Crystal City and less than a mile from the Pentagon.

An Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman declined to comment to local news publication ARLnow on whether Boeing intended to move into that space or expand its presence to one of a number of available sites nearby.

Boeing moved its corporate HQ from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, several years after its acquisition of former competitor and military equipment maker McDonnell Douglas as part of an effort to rebrand itself as more than just a commercial jet manufacturer.