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.