November 4 2015

Special Town Meeting Scheduled to Discuss TIF Agreement for Life Science Business

By: Rich Hosford

Town Meeting will convene for a special meeting to vote on a proposed tax agreement for a business looking to come to town. 


During its meeting last week the Board of Selectmen approved the warrant for the special Town Meeting that will take place on Monday, November 16. The only article will be for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement with EMD Millipore


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, which would house the company’s current employees. The Summit property is owned by the Gutierrez Company. 


Town Administrator John Petrin said at the Board of Selectmen meeting that the exact details of the TIF agreement had not been worked out but will be voted on by the board and presented to Town Meeting before the vote. 


A TIF agreement is a way to structure tax alleviation for a company coming into town. 


Matthew Powers of EMD Millipore explained earlier this year 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

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