TIF Agreement, Burlington, EMD Millipore, tax increment financing,

 August 25 2015

Selectmen Give Go Ahead for TIF Agreement Talks With Life Science Company

By: Rich Hosford

During its meeting last week, the Board of Selectmen voted to allow town staff to begin negotiations with EMD Millipore for a possible tax increment financing (TIF) agreement to have the company relocate to Burlington. 


EMD Millipore is a life science business that is part of Merck KGaA in Germany. It’s is currently headquartered in Billerica but is looking to move to “The Summit” site at 400 Wheeler Road, a property next to Best Buy. The business would build a 280,000 square foot office building, at a cost of $115 million, that would house the company’s current employees. The Summit property is owned by the Gutierrez Company. 


Matthew Powers of EMD Millipore explained what the company does. He said it was founded in 1954 as a filtration company but has since then grown into one of the biggest suppliers of Life Science equipment, primarily tools for filtration and purification, for drug makers and research facilities. The best way to look at it, he said, is drugs need to be pure, and they make the products that ensure they are, as well as the equipment that helps ensure the raw materials are exactly what is intended. 


Powers said there would be financial benefits to Burlington if the business relocated. He said they estimate that the business and its employees spend about $4 million a year on amenities, including hotels, restaurants and catering. The company also supports local charities and there is a strong culture of volunteerism among the employees, he added. 


Powers also noted that Burlington doesn’t currently have a life sciences building and if one were to come to town, it would mean representatives from similar companies would visit and experience Burlington. This could lead to other companies looking to relocate to town. 


Members of the Board of Selectmen appeared interested in the proposal and voted unanimously to allow staff to continue discussions with the company. 


Because it’s a TIF agreement, it will eventually need to be approved by Town Meeting. Town Administrator John Petrin said this proposal came up quickly but that they will work to get an agreement together to be on the September 28 Town Meeting warrant. He said that will be difficult so it may not be in front of the legislative body until January or they might call a Special Town Meeting if necessary. 

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