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GE ramping up for Marlborough site launch this summer

WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL – Recruiters at General Electric’s Healthcare Life Sciences division — currently of New Jersey, soon to be of Marlborough — are in the middle of a hiring frenzy as they prepare to launch operations at the division’s new U.S. headquarters late this summer.

By 2017, GE estimates it’ll employ about 500 at the Marlborough site, with positions ranging from customer service staff and project managers to scientists and engineers.

Halfway to filling 215 jobs

To get there, GE is conducting a flurry of interviews. With about 20 planned for a three-day span this week, the screening of candidates will continue to play out in the coming months. GE has received “hundreds and hundreds” of applications for positions in Marlborough, according to Erica Bell, senior global human resource leader at GE.

“We could interview up to five candidates for one position,” Bell said on Monday. “You can imagine the number of people we’ve interviewed or talked to.”

While some employees will be transferred from the current U.S. headquarters in Piscataway, N.J., and other Massachusetts locations, the majority in Marlborough will be new hires from the region. GE is filling 215 positions for the summer launch, and expects to hire about 100 more by the time the site is fully operational in 2017, a spokeswoman for the company said.

About half of the initial 215 have been filled, Bell said. While filling the rest, from senior-level posts to entry-level jobs, is a big task, Bell said Marlborough is the best location.

“When (the company) looked at different locations, Marlboro was seen as accessible to major highways, and being able to reach out to Boston as well as to Worcester for academic resources,” said Bell, adding that GE didn’t want to be “confined” to one urban center, but rather straddle between the two cities, with reasonable commuting time to Western Massachusetts.

Region a ‘premier life sciences cluster’ worldwide

Echoing Bell’s sentiments was Tony Kotarski, executive properties project manager at GE. Kotarski said proximity to leading research hospitals and colleges and universities that offer post-graduate degrees in the life sciences is invaluable. Plus, GE Healthcare Life Sciences has a strong local customer base, he said.

“When GE made the decision to establish their (Healthcare Life Sciences) headquarters up here, they did it because this is one of the premier life sciences clusters in the world,” Kotarski said.

Renovation imminent

A renovation and retrofitting project at the future headquarters at 200 Forest St. (also home to another new arrival, Quest Diagnostics), is set to begin in the coming weeks, too. Boston-based Suffolk Construction is leading the work, which includes renovating about 200,000 square feet of space.

Kotarski said it’s in “shell state” after owner Atlantic Property Management removed the old infrastructure used by the former tenant, Hewlett Packard. That makes it relatively easy to retrofit the space for GE’s purposes; Kotarski said GE is aiming to complete its new office space in the third quarter so operations can begin in time for the planned late-summer opening. About 40,000 square feet of laboratory space is slated to be complete by the end of the fourth-quarter.

This article by Emily Micucci originally appeared here.