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 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.