The Record, Sunday, April 15, 2001
Boeing's flight of fancy should land in Teterboro
By Rod Allee
For those executives in the Boeing company who are assiduously scouting sites for a new corporate headquarters, I have one word:
Allow me to insert a disclaimer here, right up front: I am not being paid by Teterboro (I'm barely being paid by The Record). If Boeing's execs heed my advice -- and once the logic sets in, how could they resist? -- I will profit only in the satisfaction of having saved one of America's premier corporations from making a huge mistake.
Exactly why Boeing, America's largest exporter, wants to move out of Seattle has never been made public. However, the announcement was made shortly after former Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez signed a quarter-billion-dollar contract to play for the Texas Rangers. Of course speculation quickly centered on Dallas, and Rodriguez sent his friends in Boeing an invitation:
"I moved to Dallas-Fort Worth to improve my future. So should you."
If Boeing's execs are basing their decision on shortstops, they can do better than Alex Rodriguez. Derek Jeter, the most valuable player in the New York Yankees' latest dynasty, is building a home in Wayne. I bet, in return for a small honorarium, Jeter would gladly stop to sign autographs at the grand opening of Boeing's World Headquarters in Teterboro.
Chicago and Denver also are making bids to lure Boeing, but frankly, the shortstops in these two cities don't come close.
Teterboro offers other undeniable advantages.
Weather? Chicago is notoriously windy, Dallas notoriously hot, and Denver just plain notorious. Compared to them -- or to notoriously rainy Seattle -- Teterboro is Shangri-La.
Culture? Teterboro has more culture within a half-hour than those other cities put together. The same goes for access to the world's financial resources.
Airport? It is a given that Boeing would need an airport, and from anywhere in Teterboro, Boeing's execs could walk to the airport. Furthermore, Teterboro has a major role in America's aviation history and even has the Aviation Hall of Fame. No way does Dallas, Denver, or Chicago come out ahead on this score.
Workforce? Boeing's execs have indicated that their main manufacturing operation will not be moved from Seattle, but should they change their minds, there is an excess of skilled labor in North Jersey, all of it underpaid.
Coffee? You never know, this could be a serious consideration. Paul Bush, Teterboro's town manager, vouches for the coffee at Josie's ("Also the breakfast sandwiches," he advises), and the assessor, 83-year-old Jim Hall, vows that if Boeing's execs ever tasted the coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, just over the line in Little Ferry, they'd never miss Starbucks.
Bush and Hall agree that Teterboro has enough vacant office space for Boeing's 500 or so executive staff. "And if they don't like what's there, we'll tear down Town Hall and sell them the land," Bush promises. Hall goes even further in displaying the trademark Teterboro spirit of accommodation to business: "I'd give them my house!"
Most people around here know that Teterboro was created in 1917 as a hole-in-the-wall for industrial robber barons. Not that Boeing's execs fit that category, but, should they be concerned about their tax burden in Teterboro, Assessor Hall would reassure them that for every $1 million in true-value real estate they owned, they would have to pay a mere $13,600 per year. Let Dallas, Denver, or Chicago match that!
I think Teterboro's attractions, as already noted, would prove irresistible to Boeing's execs, but should a closing argument be needed, let it be this:
In 1990 Teterboro had 22 residents. In 2000 -- despite a U.S. Census miscount -- it had 45 residents.
So from among the chief suitors for Boeing's affections, Teterboro is clearly the town on the move.