Town Meeting to Decide on Tax Incentive Sought by Potential Major Employer

The Town of Bedford will net $2.94 million in revenue if Special Town Meeting approves a 10-year tax increment financing (TIF) plan leading to the relocation of an expanding company to a vacant office campus. Photo by Wayne Braverman

The Town of Bedford will net $2.94 million in revenue if Special Town Meeting approves a 10-year tax increment financing (TIF) plan leading to the relocation of an expanding company to a vacant office campus.

The Select Board on Monday reviewed the terms of the TIF with officials of STR (Systems Technology Research) of Woburn, then voted to recommend approval at the June 11 Town Meeting. The commonwealth will have the final signoff through its Economic Development Incentive Program.

STR develops “innovative technology for the federal government. We’re looking for more space due to customer demand for our services,” said Dan McCarthy, STR senior vice president of operations.

The firm wants to relocate its corporate headquarters and laboratories to 326,776 square feet of space at 174-176 Middlesex Turnpike. That’s the Bedford Woods office park formerly occupied by RSA, a cybersecurity company.

A TIF is a mechanism provided under state law that defers additional real estate taxes in exchange for job creation and investment. Under the terms of the proposed TIF, the company will add 170 full-time jobs to its current workforce of 500 over a five-year period and invest about $78 million in renovation and construction costs over the next four years.

According to data shared at the meeting, under terms of the TIF:

  • An annual base tax payment, representing existing infrastructure, of $1,72,284 would continue, “adjusted annually by an adjustment factor which reflects increased commercial and industrial property values within the community,” as provided by state law;
  • The company would save $4,968,381 in taxes, of which $4,274,181 would reflect increased value from improvements to the buildings; 
  • Net new revenue to the town over 10 years would be $2,559,193 in real estate tax plus $373,800 in personal property tax;
  • The tax savings would comprise 90 percent of increased value for the first four years, then incrementally decline to 20 percent for the 10th year.

McCarthy told the board that plans are for an initial 16-year lease with two 10-year renewals. The property is owned by a limited liability company called Cole of Bedford, based in Delaware with an office in Phoenix.

“They want to be a long-term partner,” said Bedford Town Manager Matt Hanson, who was the lead negotiator for the town. Lynn Tokarczyk of Business Development Strategies, Inc., a consultant for STR on its site search, thanked Hanson “for all your leadership and all your efforts to keep this project moving forward.” 

She added that Matt Lanefski, director of assessing, and Jeff King, recently retired economic development director, also were “very instrumental.”

The agreement also says, “The company plans to use reasonable efforts, to the extent permitted by any and all applicable laws and assuming equal qualifications, to give priority to qualified Bedford residents in its hiring of new employees for the project.”

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