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Keurig Passes Easily at Town Meeting

Town Meeting members voted 93 to 7 to approve the proposed Tax Incentive Finance deal with the K-Cup makers for its headquarters move.

The relocation of Keurig's headquarters from Reading to Burlington took a big step towards becoming a done deal at Town Meeting last night.

Members voted 93 to 7 to approve that would save the company an estimated $3,256,352 over 15 years.

, Keurig is looking to find a larger facility for its headquarters. Currently Keurig has a base of operations in Reading and offices in other New England states. Keurig is looking to close the office locations, including the Reading office, and move to a new location.

Keurig is considering occupying the Gutierrez-owned building at 63 South Avenue, where iRobot used to be located. The company is looking to lease the property for 15 years and do extensive upgrades to the site, including building extra space for its growing business.

Representatives from Keurig were seeking a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement that will help make the deal more palatable to the board of Keurig's parent company, Green Mountain Coffee, based in Vermont.

Before the vote was taken Town Administrator Robert Mercier made a push for the article's approval. He said the town rarely grants TIF agreements, and so far has only done so twice, with Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Mercier said those two projects have worked out well for the town, with Sun Microsystems now being the second-highest paying taxpayer in town after the Burlington Mall and Oracle paying over $1 million per year where the previous tenant never paid more than $300,000 annually.

Mercier added that Keurig, if it moves to town, will bring roughly 400 well-paid employees who will spend money locally on Burlington amenities. The company, as it grows, also plans to hire about as many new employees, thus creating job opportunities in town.

Though most Town Meeting members appeared enthusiastic about the deal, there were a couple of questions for John Heller, Keurig's vice president of finance, who was in attendance. One member asked why the TIF agreement was for 15 years rather than for 10 years.

Heller said the maximum length of a TIF agreement is 20 years.

"The question could be asked, why is not for 20 years?" Heller asked.

He said that Keurig had asked for more of a break with the TIF agreement but Mercier and his team had negotiated the company down to the agreement on the warrant.

"I asked for a longer time and higher percentages but Bob kept beating me back," he said.

Now that Town Meeting has approved the TIF for the town, the next step is a hearing before the state board that oversees and must approve such agreements, set for June 26. If the agreement is approved by the state, Keurig will then pitch the move to Green Mountain executives.

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J. Parker May 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
This made sense. The building was empty and the land they are going to use is also empty from a prior building/company that was demolished. Let us hope that the Town Meeting Members keep using their heads regarding the Canyon issue. Even though that land is empty, there is no reason to fill it with another business that will add much more traffic onto the Pike. It is now designated RO and should stay that way. Mr. Gutierezz could do this town a favor by putting the employees into a residential development next to his business buildings rather than create another business that will attract much, more TRAFFIC!! Are we talking about GREED here, or what?!
Matt Frost May 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Quite odd that with all the traffic concerns over Guteirrez's Canyon proposal, that few people seemed to consider the traffic ramifications of the TIF for Keurig, which is for buildings now owned and that will be developed and owned by the very same Gutierrez. Ooops, looks like all the facts were not considered, with little consistency in the application of logic to the two proposals.
Rich C May 25, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I think the issue with Keurig is that the building already existed, and would have been occupied by someone sooner or later, regardless of whether or not there was a Target up the street. Furthermore, if you were forced to make a choice, most Burlington people think Keurig office jobs are preferable to Target cash register jobs. Finally, that site was previously iRobot's location, but they're gone because they were offered a TIF in Bedford one town over. Now if you want to make the same point about the Wegman etc. development at 3rd Avenue, it would be well taken.
B Springer May 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Another big difference is that the Keurig site is already zoned for business. The Canyon site is zoned residential.

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