General Dynamics to Leave Burlington
Updated at 4:45 p.m. with quote from city officials in Burlington
General Dynamics, which employs 450 people in Burlington, is moving its Technology Center from Lakeside Avenue to buildings formerly owned by IBM in Williston.
The move is expected to be complete by the end of 2010, company officials said in a release.
“Our business is changing, and we need to take steps to ensure we are as efficient and effective as we can be,” said Bill Gural, vice president and general manager of the Burlington operation, in a statement. “By moving, we’ll be adopting a new environment for our employees that will improve their ability to collaborate, make them more efficient and help them remain focused on accomplishing our customers’ missions.”
The new facility, owned and managed by IBM, covers 112,000 square feet of office space. Employees will remain at the existing Lakeside Avenue site until the new facility is built-out to General Dynamics’ specifications.
No plans have yet been presented to Williston officials, said Williston Town Planner Ken Belliveau.
Burlington officials have yet to respond to a request for comment. Stay tuned...
As noted in this week's "Fair Game", General Dynamics is one of the many contractors who would be potentially affected by an amendment authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — also a former mayor of Burlington — aimed at curbing fraud and abuse amongst defense contractors.
Community and Economic Development Office Director Larry Kupferman said he was disappointed to hear the news about General Dynamics leaving Burlington, but is glad to hear they are remaining in Vermont.
"We wish any business well in Vermont and I'm glad they are staying in Vermont. General Dynamics provides a beneficial function for the country," said Kupferman.
Rumors about General Dynamics leaving the Queen City have been percolating for some time, he noted, but the decision to leave was not something that city officials had any sway to change.
"That said, there is a lot of interest in 'Class A' office space and I have every confidence that it will be filled," said Kupferman. "There have been a lot of energy efficiency improvements and other updates in recent years, and there are acres of parking."
Kupferman said the city has about a 1 percent vacancy rate for prime office space akin to what General Dynamics is vacating. He added that General Dynamics will retain some space in Burlington beyond 2010.
As of Friday afternoon, the city had not heard directly from General Dynamics about their move.