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Marlborough officials hopeful about TJX proposal

March 16, 2012 – Community Advocate – Last year local officials were stunned by the news that Fidelity Investments was planning on vacating their Marlborough campus by the end of 2012 and relocating 1,100 employees to Rhode Island or New Hampshire. Now, with the announcement that the TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX) has decided to purchase two of the soon to be vacant Fidelity buildings, officials are hopeful that the city will once again be on the upswing.

Sherry Lang, senior vice president of global communications for TJX, said in a March 8 press release that the company was, “pleased to have signed a purchase and sale agreement for two buildings located at 300 and 400 Puritan Way in Marlborough.” to Rhode Island or New Hampshire. Now, with the announcement that the TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX) has decided to purchase two of the soon to be vacant Fidelity buildings, officials are hopeful that the city will once again be on the upswing.

At the March 12 City Council meeting, the council discussed a proposed Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) plan between the city and TJX. They also discussed a communication from Jeffrey Naylor, Sr., an executive vice president of TJX, regarding the TIF.

TIFs offer tax breaks to developers, by providing tax increment financing exemptions on the incremental increase of the assessed value of real property. A community must be located in an area designated by the state as an Economic Opportunity Area (EOA) in order to issue TIFs. A TIF must first be approved by municipal vote and then be certified by the state’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC). Companies that are granted TIFs must also comply with certain standards, such as agreeing to retain a number of jobs, creating new ones, and filing a report with the state each year.

In his letter, Naylor said the significant new capital investment is estimated to be $117.2 million. Approval for the TJX project will provide higher and better use of the existing buildings located within the area that are currently largely vacant, stated Naylor in the proposal.

Among the economic benefits to the city are the relocation of 1,600 permanent full-time employees and 75 newly created full-time positions over the first five years of the TIF agreement. Local approval of the agreement will allow TJX to pursue state tax incentives authorized under the Mass. Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP). The EDIPs combined state and local tax incentives are expected to partially offset the state’s generally higher business costs, Naylor stated in his letter. The 700,000 square feet of office space can accommodate both a single headquarters site and “a significant component of a ‘dual-site’ headquarters operation,” he added.

The company’s headquarters are currently located at 770 Cochituate Road in Framingham. That property, along with the two Marlborough buildings, would provide TJX with, “two major campuses operating in close proximity to one another,” Lang noted in her statement. She added that the company did not expect the move to occur before late summer or early fall of 2013.

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant also released a statement regarding the proposed deal.

“Working with City Council President Trish Pope and the members of the City Council, I look forward to working with the leaders from TJX and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation to finalize a competitive package that will allow new investments to be made in Marlborough while bringing needed revenue to the city, and most importantly, jobs for our residents,” he said.

If the council approves the proposal, the application and proposed TIF Agreement will be reviewed by a committee composed of the City Assessor, City Planner and a member of the City Council for approval.

Lang said TJX would not be commenting further on the proposed move or the number of employees the company expected to transfer to the new campus until a future date.

TJX Companies include TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls.

This story originally appeared here.