On March 31, 1970, some 3,500 people, led by IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr., attended the ceremonial dedication of IBM's new facility in Boca Raton, Fla. Designed by Marcel Breuer and Thomas Gatje, the site initially encompassed 620,000 square feet consisting of: a three-story administration and product test building of 220,000 square feet, a three-story development laboratory building of 96,000 square feet, a manufacturing building of 96,000 square feet, a cafeteria of 21,000 square feet, a materials distribution center of 178,000 square feet and a plant of 9,000 square feet.
The Boca Raton site was first operated by IBM's General Systems Division, which manufactured the IBM System/3, IBM 1130 computing system, and the IBM System/360 Model 20 in the plant, and developed the IBM System/7, IBM Series/1 and the IBM System/3 Model 6 in the lab. Other Boca "alumni" included the IBM 5110 computing system (transferred from Rochester), IBM 5120 computing system, IBM System/23, the IBM Personal Computer and some robotic systems.
By the mid-1980s, IBM Boca Raton covered 600 acres and occupied four million square feet of space (half of which was in leased buildings), and employed nearly 10,000 people. By the end of the decade, IBM had ceased manufacturing operations at the site, and Boca had become solely a development facility for the company's Personal Systems line of business. (VV8004)