Red Hat sets up shop in Fort Point, near future GE base

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
September 15, 2016

red-hatWhen the banner displaying a crimson fedora briefly appeared outside 300 A St. in April, the rumors spread faster than free software: Red Hat was coming to Fort Point.

The flag, it turns out, was an effort to recruit the company, not necessarily a sign of anything definitive. But the recruitment effort paid off. North Carolina-based Red Hat has just signed a lease that will bring 100 to 150 workers to the South Boston building.

Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies, said the business software company will occupy 40,000 square feet, with an opening planned in mid-spring 2017.

The 9,300-person company already has a substantial campus in Westford, a 175,000-square-foot complex where about 550 people work. Cormier, who will be based in Westford and Boston, said only a handful will move to the Boston office, while the rest will be new employees.

Red Hat has built a big business around free software that corporate clients can easily alter or update for their own specific needs. It expects to generate $2.4 billion in revenue this year, primarily from subscriptions that companies pay for support in using its open-source programs.

The Fort Point location, in a building owned by the real estate investment firm Bentall Kennedy, will serve several functions. Red Hat will use it as a research and development center for its software, Cormier said. The location will also become Red Hat’s global executive briefing center, where the company hosts bigwigs who represent potential and existing clients from around the world.

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