By Dustin Luca
---- — An energy efficiency company bringing jobs to Andover and expanding a facility in exchange for temporary tax breaks has received the necessary approval.
Schneider Electric, a Paris-based energy-efficiency company, is expected to bring 690 jobs to Andover by the end of 2017, according to Andover Planning Director Paul Materazzo. Those employees will work at 800 Federal St., where the company will invest $20 million to expand a currently vacant building. Town Meeting voters earlier this year gave the Board of Selectmen the approval to negotiate the tax increment financing plan.
The company will house its research and development arm, an engineering office and showcase facility in the new facility when it’s completed, Materazzo said.
The state’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council approved a TIF plan that will allow the company to increase the value of the building but not pay the full taxes the building can bring in for the first five years.
For the first three years, the company will pay only the tax owed for the building’s present value, according to Materazzo. For the fourth and fifth years of the company’s time in Andover, the company will only pay an added 65 percent of the increase in value. The full tax value will be paid in all subsequent years.
The company is also expected to retain 65 existing jobs and relocate 525 more to Andover in the company’s first year in town, according to Materazzo. For each of the five years after that, 15 more jobs must be added, as required by the TIF terms.
“You have good paying jobs relocating and expanding in Andover, in a first-class company setting up shop in Andover,” Materazzo said. “Once fully occupied by the TIF terms, it will immediately jump up to the top five, top six employers in town.”
The jobs being relocated to Andover will be coming from a number of different operations throughout the region.
The specific details, including which company-owned facilities will be impacted, aren’t yet known, according to Materazzo.
The deal does have some safety nets built in, should Schneider Electric not provide the jobs or the investment within the time frame mandated by the agreement. The agreement could be decertified by the Board of Selectmen, nullifying tax incentives, according to Materazzo.
“In the unlikely event that Schneider Electric doesn’t live up to the terms they provided to the town, the town has a mechanism to go back and resolve the TIF,” Materazzo said.
Work is already being done on the building inside, and exterior construction for the expansion is expected to begin once all necessary permits are secured.
“They’re eager to engage the town, to work with the town and be a good, corporate citizen,” Materazzo said.
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