Analog Devices is looking to begin a potentially $200 million expansion project that could bring a boost to the local economy through a property tax boost and other methods. Whether that project will take place in Wilmington is what remains to be seen.
Representatives from the company and the state were at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, during which they proposed the possibility of taxpayers eventually approving a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement through designating the town an Economic Target Area.
If that occurred, Analog Devices would continue to pay its current tax rate, but would receive real estate tax relief on the expansion portion, a number that could be anywhere between 5 and 100 percent for between 5 and 20 years depending on how it is negotiated by the Board of Selectmen.
“Our bias is to expand here in Wilmington, so we need to seek incentives in this area and ask for that real estate tax relief,” said Analog Devices Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Zinsner. “Wilmington is the flagship site in the country for Analog Devices, and it is a natural choice as we look to expand our footprint as a part of our long-term growth strategy.”
According to Zinsner, the first phase of the project would cost $100 and the second would as well. The initial construction would bring a 250,000 square foot building to town that would house offices and labs.
Peter Milano, senior regional director of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, said the new facility would bring a guaranteed number of jobs to the state. Though there is no way to guarantee a designated number of those jobs could go to Wilmington residents, there is the possibility that the company could advertise openings in town first before opening to a wider search.
Another potential benefit of an Analog expansion is the boost it could bring to the local economy. With a large number of new employees working in town, Wilmington’s businesses would likely benefit.
“I’m a big fan of small business and large business collaborating and working together,” said selectman Mike Champoux. “We all know where we are today. As much as I think we are digging out of this economic struggle, this project on its face seems to be a help in speeding up in the digging out process.”
Taxpayers would be asked to approve the tax relief at a Town Meeting if the negotiations progress that far.
Town Manager Michael Caira said the town has been asked to participate in this program in the past, but has never approved a TIF for an area business. Because of the magnitude of the Analog expansion plans, he said it may be worth considering this time.
“We have taken a position that nothing had impressed us to the extent that it would make us want to do something like this,” said Caira. “It’s certainly worthy of consideration and worthy of breaking the mold to set the precedent. But we need to be very careful how we do it, and be very clear that it’s because of the scope of this project.”
Wilmington Principal Assessor Skip Moynihan said Analog currently pays about $1.3 million on property taxes. He added that the first phase of construction would be an additional $2.5 million, while that number would reach about $5 million when the project was completed.
Selectmen made no decision at Monday’s meeting, but asked the company to continue dialogue with Moynihan and Caira in order to establish a timeline. Zinsner said Analog hopes to settle on a location for its expansion sooner rather than later, and added that there are several other options other than Wilmington.
“Quite frankly, (Analog has) unique benefits to the community, and I can commit to you that I will give my full consideration in reviewing this proposal,” said selectman Judy O’Connell.