As the town begins to weigh the pros and cons of granting Invensys a tax break on $30 million worth of renovations, Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos said it is crucial the community’s largest manufacturing company remains in town.
“This is an extraordinary corporate partner we cannot afford to lose, this region cannot afford to lose and the Commonwealth cannot afford to lose,” Paicos said. “One thousand employees with a concentration of several hundred engineers [in Foxborough] is an extraordinary situation in the state of Massachusetts.”
State Representative Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield) said keeping Invensys in Foxborough not only benefits the town but its neighbors as well.
“Invensys reaches the entire region,” Barrows said. “The spend is here in our communities. What’s good for Norton is good for Foxborough and Mansfield and vice versa. It really helps us with those good schools we are paying for and helps us make a great community. … Whatever makes us unique in our towns is done by the help of companies like Invensys.”
Steve Sacco, senior vice president of Invensys, told selectmen last week the company’s employees spend approximately $6 million annually in Foxborough “on everything from hotels, restaurants to other engineering services locally.”
“The company and employees contribute significantly to the local economy,” Sacco said.
Sacco said with Invensys approaching the end of two building leases in town the company has started looking at its real estate options both in and outside of Foxborough.
“We’ve started to look at facilities in the area … in Foxborough and elsewhere,” Sacco said. … “Our goal in what we need to do is really provide a modern, attractive workspace for our employees. We currently have vacant and outdated space in our buildings.”
One of the company’s proposed options – and one that many in Foxborough will be relieved to hear – is to remain in town and invest $30 million into the leased Cocasset Building on Mechanic Street and the Neponset Building on Neponset Avenue.
“As part of that proposal we would look to renew the lease for the Cocasset building, we would likely vacate both of the Bristol Park buildings and consolidate our employees together,” said Sacco.
In order for Invensys to choose that option, the town will likely have to grant the 104-year-old company with a tax break program known as a Tax Increment Financing (TIF). To read more on the TIF proposal, click here.
Paicos, who has experience working with TIFs, primarily in Hingham, said this is a tremendous opportunity for the town that “merits great consideration.”
“In this case, I’m especially optimistic because we don’t just have a partner here where I think there’s clear economic benefit but this is a rare jewel in our collective crown and this is one of the most extraordinary partners we have,” Paicos said. “We have two prominent business partners in Foxborough. This particular business has a century of history with this community.”
Invensys is also a global leader in the technology industry, making the company a desired asset for any community.
“There’s some very keen competition today from other surrounding communities, within our own state,” said Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce board member Ed Tartufo. “They are trying to attract companies from our own towns to move to their communities. Not only [is there] competition from our local communities but other states are competing for those same companies as well.”
Tartufo said one of Foxborough’s biggest competitors for Invensys may only be 19 miles down the road.
“The largest industrial park in New England is in Taunton,” Tartufo said. “They’re trying whatever they can to attract new businesses there.”
Tartufo agreed with Paicos and Barrows that the region cannot afford to lose a company of Invensys’ caliber.
“Out of those 1,000 employees at the Foxboro Company [Invensys], there’s about 600 of them that live in the surrounding and abutting towns of Foxborough,” Tartufo said. “It’s not just Foxborough, it’s the surrounding communities that benefit from this business. It doesn’t just stop at the border; we all have something at stake.”
Lynn Tokarczyk, a government incentive consultant for Invensys during the TIF process, told selectmen the company is trying to make a decision on its future and is hoping it can stay and grow in Foxborough.
Tokarczyk outlined several benefits of keeping Invensys in Foxborough:
- Keeping the largest manufacturer and one of the largest taxpayers in town.
- Renovating underutilized space and making a significant investment.
- Foxborough would retain jobs, hotel and meals taxes.
- There’s a lot of Invensys money to be spent in Foxborough.
- Foxborough is positioned to keep a company with its deep roots in the community.
The town’s TIF committee is expected to sit down with Invensys representatives and begin to review the company’s TIF application. If all goes well in those discussions and selectmen support the TIF proposal, voters will be asked to decide on future of Invensys at May’s Annual Town Meeting.