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City Council approves tax break for Vertex on waterfront

The City Council today unanimously approved $12 million in tax breaks over seven years for construction of Vertex's planned $1-billion headquarters and lab space on Fan Pier.

City Councilor Bill Linehan, who represents South Boston and chairs the council's economic-development committee, said the new construction will mean $50 million in tax revenue over the period of the breaks.

In addition, the council approved a state proposal to spend $50 million in state funds on infrastructure improvements on and near Fan Pier for Vertex, which recently won federal approval for a possible blockbuster Hepatitis C drug.

Linehan said the Vertex project will means 1,200 jobs moving to Boston from Cambridge and up to 500 new jobs; along with up to 2,000 construction jobs during the 30 months it will take to build two new buildings for the company. "As my dad used to say, 10% of something is something, 100% of nothing is nothing."

Councilor Mike Ross (Mission Hill, Back Bay, Beacon Hill) said he was initially skeptical about using money just to attract a company across the Charles, but said he now realizes the money will help keep Vertex in the Boston area. He pointed to Facebook as a company that started here but moved elsewhere and said the Vertex project is an example of Boston retaining a growing company. He added the Fan Pier site offers Vertex something Cambridge could not - a single campus. The company is now scattered across 10 buildings in Cambridge.

Councilor Charles Yancey said he supported the measures, but said he will follow the project to ensure Boston residents in general, and minorities and women in particular, get their fair share of jobs at Vertex.

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Comments

How'd that tax break thing work out with Fidelity?

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So Menino and the city council are increasing taxes (ok, suggestions) for non profits, while at the same time subsidizing billion dollar for profits? So in essence, non profits like the Museum of Science are subsidizing Vertex to move across the river?

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In one case, the city is asking for future contributions from non-profits across the board as a standard policy from here on out. In the other case, a company is being offer a one time deal to set up shop in the city. Also, the MFA (or Northeastern or etc...) is less likely to actually add significant new jobs in the future. Universities will certainly grow within their space limitations, but the MFA isn't going to add 100 employees in the next decade, let alone few years.

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for a drug is getting subsidized by Boston and Massachusetts taxpayers???

And all these infrastructure improvements...didn't we just get burned by Evergreen for the exact same thing?

If Boston is so hostile for businesses, lower the tax rate for ALL BUSINESSES, not just the ones that are trendy at the moment and able to toss loads of cash into current political campaigns. This is just another unfortunate race to the bottom move.

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n/t

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until Cambridge decides to fire back that is - which will take about as long as you can hold your breath. Hopefully the state economic developmnent board which also has to approve these deals will be smart enough not to grant a company a tax break for simply moving from one town to another - but I've dealt with these people and they might as well be made of rubber with the word "approved" embossed on their foreheads which slam on the paperwork strewn in front of them every time somebody asks for a Filene's basement level tax discount, no matter how nonsensical.

I'm sure there is not a single building site anywhere in Cambridge to consolidate Vertex' offices. And of course given that downtown Boston has such a shortage of office space, the wisest thing we can do is build more!

Has the city council EVER turned down one of these sweetheart deals?

Councilor Ross - Facebook? - please! Next thing you know you'll be telling us that apples and oranges taste the same because they are both fruits.

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Lab space and office space are not the same thing

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Retrofit surplus empty office space and turn it into labs - or buy up an office building with an adjoining property and build the labs next door. All kinds of options. There's no shortage of space in many parts of Cambridge and Boston and they are budgeting $1000 a sf for the project which should be more than ample to build world class lab and office space. If you need cheap - there's all the space you can use out on the 128 belt.

Bottom line - they don't need any discounts from the taxpayers to make this happen in Mass. All they've done is start a tax war between Cambridge and Boston and that's just a race to the bottom.

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I agree. There is NO shortage of open lots or available office space in Cambridge. On First Street @ Binney, there's several parking lots that will be converted to office and lab space. (there's bid signs hanging up). Don't tell me there's no space in cambridge.

I kinda read this as.. "Hey Cambridge, we started here, and have been here for 20 years. But boston gave us a better deal, so f' you and see ya".

And $1,000 is a TON for lab space. Most go for 150-200 sq foot for new lab space.

So tell me again why they need a tax break for this? *shakes head*

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Calling you out on thinking you can build new lab space for $150/SF.

I'll give you $600/SF to retrofit a existing CostCo for top-notch lab use, and you can set everyone up on folding tables and keep the existing bathrooms. You'll lose your shirt even before the mechanical work is done.

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I can't imagine how $12 mil could be an incentive on a billion $ project. I can understand what it would mean to the school budget. Real problem is we'll never know if it was a deal breaker or not! The Mayor's give away to Liberty Mutual killed any trust I had in the 5th or 8th floor of City Hall.

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It sounds like Vertex was looking to move from Cambridge anyways. Was it a question of moving to Boston vs. moving out-of-state? If so, then this deal is understandable.

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________________________________________________________
City of Boston Finance Commission

Minutes of the Meeting of May 5, 2011

The Finance Commission meeting was convened at 5:00 PM
at 152 North Street, room 309, Boston, MA. The meeting was
attended by commission members Paul Minihane (Chairman),
Robert O’Connell, Reuben Kantor, and James Weliky as well
as office staff Matthew Cahill (Executive Director) and Michael
Levangie.

The first item on the agenda was the introduction of newly
appointed commission member James Weliky. It was further
noted that Reuven Steinberg was also appointed as a commission
member.

The commission was informed of efforts regarding a report
that the office staff is currently creating regarding efficiencies in
government and increasing revenues.

The commission discussed the creation of a web site (see
previous minutes). The site is currently in development and a
prototype will be presented for discussion at the June 2011
meeting.

The office staff and commission members offered several
ideas for possible future business which will be discussed at the
June 2011 meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 PM.
A true copy.
Matthew A. Cahill
Executive Director
email Matt.Cahill at cityofboston.gov

________________________________________________________
City of Boston Finance Commission

Minutes of the Meeting of April 7, 2011

The Finance Commission meeting was convened at 5:00 PM
at 152 North Street, room 309, Boston, MA. The meeting was
attended by commission members Paul Minihane (Chairman),
Robert O’Connell and Reuben Kantor as well as office staff
Matthew Cahill (Executive Director) and Michael Levangie.

The first item on the agenda was a discussion of city owned
property. Executive Director Cahill suggested to the commission
that the office review recently announced building closures.
The commission agreed unanimously that further research was
warranted and that the results would be presented and discussed at
a future meeting.

The next agenda item was a review of transportation
technologies and revenues. The commission voted unanimously
that the office continue to review and continue to monitor these
issues and report at future commission meetings.

The commissioners brought forth the lack of a Finance
Commission web presence for discussion. It was unanimous that
there should be more discussion regarding the needs of the
department to create an internet presence.

The commission was informed by Director Cahill that the
City of Boston is currently involved in union negotiations with
multiple unions. Recent media reports regarding medical coverage
may have an effect on the negotiations. The office will inform the
commission on any agreements as they become available.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:40 PM.
A true copy.
Matthew A. Cahill
Executive Director
email Matt.Cahill at cityofboston.gov

City of Boston
Finance Commmission
152 North Street
Room 309
Boston MA 02109
tel 617 635-2202
fax 617 635-2206
email Matt.Cahill at cityofboston.gov
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Finance_Commis...

[Boston City Seal]
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_city...

SICUT PATRIBUS SIT DEUS NOBIS.
God Be with Us as He Was with Our Fathers

BOSTONIA. CONDITA A.D. 1630.
Boston, Founded in the Year of Our Lord 1630

CIVITATIS REGIMINE DONATA A.D. 1822.
City Status Granted by the Authority of the State in the Year of Our Lord 1822

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