News Articles

Vistaprint seeks tax incentives to expand Lexington headquarters

By Hannah McGoldrick
Wicked Local Lexington
Posted Oct 04, 2012

Lexington — Vistaprint is asking the town of Lexington for property tax relief as the company considers whether to expand its North American headquarters on Hayden Avenue.

Vistaprint, a global company providing marketing solutions for small businesses, currently leases the Ledgemont 2 building at 95 Hayden Ave. In 2009, the town approved commercial rezoning for a new building, currently identified as Ledgemont 3, adjacent to the current Vistaprint site. Vistaprint is now evaluating whether to lease this proposed building for a potential expansion project.

Representatives from Vistaprint came before Selectmen Monday night, Oct. 1, to present the expansion plans and request the town consider granting the company a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement, a tax incentive used by municipalities to stimulate economic development. According to the presentation, the tax incentives would help “bridge the gap between leasing new construction compared to an existing building,” as well as assist in the growth of Vistaprint and offset project costs estimated at $57 million.

“Tax incentives are a very real piece of the consideration when we’re looking for a new facility,” said Chris Connors, vice president of capabilities for Vistaprint.

With the growth of the company necessitating an expansion, Connors said Vistaprint has looked at potential locations around Massachusetts and around the world. With the rezoning of the Ledgemont 3 building, Connors said staying in Lexington is “a viable option.”

“This is about keeping a growing company that has deep routes in the community and putting a vacant parcel to use,” said Lynn Tokarczyk, president of Business Development Strategies, Inc. “It’s really positioning Lexington to keep a really reputable and prestigious business here.”

Vistaprint representatives said expanding the company’s Lexington campus would keep 880 jobs in town and create an estimated 300 new full-time positions.

Connors also touted the company’s community involvement, including a popular workshop Vistaprint runs for local businesses.

Mary Jo Bohart, executive director of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, expressed support for granting Vistaprint the TIF agreement and keeping the company in Lexington.

“I know it’s a large international corporate business but their project is for the little guy,” she said.

Bohart stressed the importance of creating jobs in Lexington, something she believes the town doesn’t talk about enough.

“When you can work and live in the same town, your commute is amazing and your quality of life is better,” she said. “This type of proposal will increase the probability that our residents can have that type of quality of life.”

Dawn McKenna, a Precinct 6 Town Meeting member and chairman of the Lexington Tourism Committee, said she is interested in learning more about the financial details of granting the TIF and would like to keep Vistaprint in Lexington.

“What I see in Vistaprint is exactly what we want as a role model for businesses in Lexington,” McKenna said. “This is a very good role model for us.”

Following a review by the selectmen, town manager and other town officials, the proposed TIF agreement is likely to be included on the warrant for special Town Meeting on Nov. 19.