Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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May 16, 2013

A model of efficiency

New Schneider Electric building to boast 'leading-edge' products

(Continued)

Among the reasons the move to Andover was good for Schneider, he said, is its proximity to Boston and universities like MIT, where the company is recruiting heavily.

“There was discussion about moving to Rhode Island, maybe the Franklin area,” he said, which is about halfway between the Merrimack Valley and the company’s locations farther south.

But Andover won out, he said, because people coming from Cambridge would have a relatively easy, reverse commute.

“It was an internal analysis,” he said. “We were looking for where our employees are centered.”

Company officials also looked at the local economy, where there are good hotels and easy access to Interstates 93 and 495.

Finally, and the piece that may have made Andover the winner, was an attractive tax-increment financing plan, otherwise known as a TIF, that artificially reduces the property tax rate, saving the company thousands of dollars over the five years of the agreement.

“It factors into making the finances work when we get these incentives,” he said.

Another option was to expand into one of the company’s existing buildings on High Street in North Andover, which it now shares with the Converse shoe company. Converse is moving its operation to Boston in a couple years, which will free up space in the 1860s-era brick mill structure, which Schneider has invested heavily in over the years.

But that didn’t work, either, Coflan said.

“North Andover approached us, but it came down to trying to fit everybody on the site,” he said. “It’s been a good relationship with North Andover for many years, but it was just logistics and sizing of the facility.”

Poised for growth

Chad Reynolds of Leggat McCall Properties in Boston, the owner of the Andover property, said the project has been going well since it broke ground in January. The last roof beam was placed April 16. The 77,000-square-foot addition is being attached to an existing 160,000-square-foot structure that has been vacant for some time.

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