Braintree council committee endorses tax-break deal for Haemonetics
A design concept for renovations planned for Haemonetics's world headquarters on Wood Road in Braintree.
A medical technology company in the process of cutting 320 manufacturing job says it needs local tax breaks worth up to $900,000 to keep its headquarters in Braintree.
Haemonetics, a global maker of blood-management equipment, says the temporary property-tax exemption would allow it to invest about $10 million into transforming its manufacturing plant into a research and development center that would create 125 jobs and eventually increase tax revenue for the town. The Braintree Town Council’s ways and means committee endorsed the idea Wednesday night, calling it an investment in the town’s future.
“We have to plant the seeds of economic growth for future years and generations,” said Peter Morin, chief of staff for Mayor Joseph Sullivan, who also supports the plan. “That’s what this proposal does.”
The deal, which still needs approval from the full town council, would reduce the company’s property-tax bill for its 14-acre campus for five years. Haemonetics would pay no taxes in the first year and an increasing share in the following years, paying 10 percent of its owed taxes in the second year, 25 percent in the third, 50 percent in the fourth and 55 percent in the fifth.
Morin said the total lost tax revenue for the town would be between $800,000 and $900,000, though some of that would be offset by the permitting fees Haemonetics would have to pay to start construction. The town would start collecting larger tax bills on the improved property after the tax breaks expire, and the council’s accountant, Eric Kinsherf, has projected that the town would break even by 2025.
The company plans to spend $7.4 million to renovate the facade of its 180,000-square-foot Wood Road building and outfit the building with new offices and lab space. It would also spend $2.6 million to buy furniture, computers and other research and development equipment for the center.
“We need a little under a million dollars for up-front investment costs for this to make a viable project for us,” said Sandra Jess, the company’s chief legal officer.
Peter Forman, president of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, urged councilors to consider the economic cost that the town would face if Haemonetics decided to leave town entirely. Even with the closure of its manufacturing plant, the company plans to retain 394 full-time jobs in Braintree and create 125 new ones.
“They did not feel trapped, in that they could not move from Braintree,” he said. “They have a preference to stay here, but it’s not their only option.”
Morin said he expects the town will be able to make up for the lost property taxes with revenue from other sources during the course of the five-year agreement. He said the mayor is committed to making the deal work without raising taxes for other property owners.