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Converse Relocating Headquarters to Boston

The move from North Andover will bring more than 400 Converse employees to the city by 2015.

They're a favorite of Kevin McHale and Larry Bird. Parisian girls wear them like they're the only sneakers on earth. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will rock them at the Golden Globes. And, soon, Boston will be the place they come from. 

That's right: Converse Inc., the company behind the legendary Chuck Taylors, is moving its world headquarters to Boston as part of the $230 million redevelopment of the North End's Lovejoy Warf in Bulfinch Triangle

The city announced on Tuesday, Jan. 8 that the North Andover shoe company will relocate its expanded world headquarters to the city by April 2015. Four hundred employees will work in approximately 187,000 square feet of new office space near the TD Garden, according to the city's announcement. 

“They say that wearing Converse makes a statement about a person," Mayor Thomas Menino said. "Well, I want to say that Converse moving its world headquarters to Boston makes a statement about our city. Converse and Boston are a perfect marriage. Two venerable and classic brands that are also constantly evolving. The move to Lovejoy Wharf will revitalize this historic northern gateway, while giving Converse access to a young, talented and creative workforce.”

Jim Calhoun, president and chief executive officer at Converse, said that since the company was founded just a few miles outside of Boston, Converse is "honored" to return to the city. 

"This city is part of our DNA and its spirit central to our continued growth and success,” Calhoun said. “We are thrilled to find our new home in the vibrant metropolitan center of Boston and look forward to growing with the city in the years to come.”

Lovejoy Wharf, located on the Boston Harbor between the Zakim Bridge and the Charlestown Bridge, currently houses a pier with two dilapidated buildings. In December 2012, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board approved plans by the Beal Companies and The Related Companies to revitalize the site with new office and residential development.

Converse will be leasing office space at 160 North Washington St., a nine-story building that will be rehabbed and will also include 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail with a 300-seat, café-style restaurant. The adjacent dilapidated structure at 131 Beverly St. will be removed and replaced with a 14-story residential building with 100 housing units that will be connected by a 10-story link to 160 North Washington St. The property is expected to generate $388,000 for the City of Boston in property taxes.

Developers have invested $15 million in public infrastructure that will create a signature public open space in and around Lovejoy Wharf. The wharf improvements include a new Harborwalk that creates access to the Charles River Basin, three-quarters of an acre of new publicly accessible open waterfront space, floating docks, and public water transportation facilities.

Are you happy to see a large company re-locating to the city to help revitalize the area? Or do you wish they went somewhere else? Tell us in the comments. 

karen dempsey carney January 09, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Absolutely happy about Converse relocating to the city....we are all so fortunate that Boston has bounced back from the recession and this kind of activity has a direct impact on our residential real estate values.
TheMaskedTruthsayer January 09, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Ummmm yeah karen but where are the jobs. Some of us work for a living and don't plan our retirement based on hyper-inflated property values in what still amounts to a recession.
Vincent Caristo January 09, 2013 at 05:52 PM
This is very good news for Boston, for the local area, and for taxpayers. There will be jobs as the workers in the Converse site seek services from local shops. Converse will be added to the tax roles of the city and will be an example to other business players thinking of moving to Boston. The local area will be enhanced by the old building being removed and the Harbor Walk being extended. Once again Mayor Menino has shown the ability to serve Boston as one of its best Mayors-ever. We all hope he will return to full health soon. God bless him!
Joseph January 09, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Great for the building, yes. Transfer of jobs from one part of the state to another does nothing for employment. A million dollars is a million dollars, but spread out over 25yrs? Not accounting for inflation? I'm not so certain this move does anything for taxpayers.
j January 09, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Reading comprehension, how does it work? He said the Converse workers will help bolster the local economy, not create jobs at Converse. That being said, I walk by that building every day and love the fact that they are finally doing something with it.
Joseph January 09, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I don't know j, please tell me? I didn't read that. I read that they expect an increase in tax revenue of roughly $1.3MM/yearly, over the next 25yrs, not accounting for inflation. http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/01/city_tax_break_makes_lovejoy Furthermore, those in North Andover and surrounding areas will have to spend their money on the ever increasing Commuter Rail fares. Not so sure they'll have any "disposable" income remaining to spend. That of course, is my opinion. But hey, at least we can agree it's about time they're doing something with those buildings, right??!! G'day.

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