MARLBOROUGH – The Finance Committee has recommended the City Council accept a tax-incentive proposal from an international wind turbine manufacturer that officials and company representatives say will bring new jobs to the region and expand the city’s tax base.
The committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend the council accept the Tax Increment Financing proposal from Vestas Technology R&D Americas Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of utility-scale wind turbines.
Mark Buschenfeldt, a senior specialist in site selection for Vestas, said the company plans to lease office space at 100 Crowley Drive and build a 27,000-square-foot research and development and testing facility on an adjacent property.
Buschenfeldt said Vestas employs 22,000 employees across 65 countries and five continents and controls about 15 percent of the global wind technology market. He said the Marlborough facility would be used to research, develop and test generators used in Vestas turbines.
“Vestas is truly a global company,” he said. “This is the future and I’m really pleased to have a headquarters here in Marlborough.”
In exchange for bringing its business to Marlborough, the tax agreement would give Vestas a partial exemption for 10 years. The agreement would initially give Vestas full exemption on property taxes on both the newly constructed and leased properties for the first two years, but then the exemption would shrink over the term of the agreement, eventually dropping to zero.
Vestas already has a small presence in the area. Buschenfeldt said there are two small business offices in Marlborough and Hudson, employing 34 people. Through the proposed project, those two offices would be combined into the leased office space in Crowley Drive building.
The entire new facility would employ about 100 people with room for expansion, Buschenfeldt said.
Although specific phases have not been mapped, Buschenfeldt said the company wants to purchase a big enough lot – about 8 1/2 acres – to triple the size of the research and development facility if the company wants to expand later.
Buschenfeldt said the initial project will require an investment of about $16 million, to be split between land acquisition and construction and buying the equipment needed for the facility.
The tax agreement is set to begin for fiscal 2013, which begins next July.
City Councilor Paul Ferro, acting as Finance Committee chairman on Tuesday, said yesterday that he is pleased with the committee’s decision and hopes the full City Council can sign off on the proposal at its meeting next week.
“I’m very happy that we are progressing,” he said. “I think it’s a great decision for the city.”
On Tuesday, Councilor Joseph Delano asked Buschenfeldt whether Vestas would be willing to work on projects with local students. He said the company could be a valuable resource for the school district’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy.
Buschenfeldt said Vestas would likely be more than willing to work with local schools.
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