Amazon Warehouse Project - Charlton, MA

Robotics Sortation Center at 53 Sturbridge Road

About the project

At the May 2021 Charlton Annual Town Meeting, the Town amended its zoning bylaws to allow for buildings in the Business Enterprise Park zoning district that meet certain size and setback requirements, the ability to construct buildings over 110' in height with Special Permit from the Planning Board.

Following the successful passage of this bylaw, the Town was approached by Amazon and Bluewater Property Group with plans to develop a 96 acre site at 53 Sturbridge Road as a 2.8 Million Sq. Ft. Robotics Sortation Warehouse. The project will create 1,000+ permanent jobs.

Amazon has requested that the Town consider a Tax Increment Finance Agreement (TIF) due to the considerable amount of local investment and economic opportunity provided by the Project. In Consideration of the TIF, Amazon and the Town have negotiated a Community Partnership Agreement that invests a majority of the deferred tax revenue into various community investment opportunities. These investments are over and above assessed tax revenue.

The adoption of a TIF requires Town Meeting Approval. A Special Town Meeting has been scheduled for November 15, 2021 at Charlton Middle School, 7:00pm to consider this Article.

Please note that renderings and final tax collection totals are preliminary and estimated. Both are subject to change based on final design approval and construction.

Documents

Planning Board Submittals

Project Plan Set

Conservation Commission NOI (53 Sturbridge Road)

Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Agreement

Community Partnership Agreement

Project Details

Developer: Bluewater Property Group & Bay Colony Properties

End User: Amazon

The facility is intended to be an Amazon "First Touch" Robotics Sortation Center. Products from this facility will be picked, packed and shipped to localized delivery centers. This is NOT a "last mile" delivery center.

The capital investment in the facility is estimated to net a $300 Million increase to the local tax base. The facility is estimated to generate approximately 4,000 vehicle trips per day.

The proposed project entails the construction of a state of the art 2.8 Million gross square foot industrial warehouse building with a 650,000± square foot building footprint. The building will be approximately 100 feet in height, and will have 49 loading docks, 265 trailer parking stalls, and 1,250 car parking stalls in three surface lots.

The main site access point is proposed along Route 20. The main circulation road diverts truck traffic to loading bays and trailer parking stalls. The remaining two surface lots are for passenger vehicle traffic. A secondary site access point is proposed along Route 169. This access point would also serve as an extension of the WRTA 29 bus route, with a bus stop along the front of the proposed building.

Construction is projected to begin March 2022 with final building occupancy in July 2023.


Source: Massachusetts Office of Business Development

What is a TIF Agreement ?

TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. It is an economic development tool authorized by M.G.L. c. 40, §59 and its implementing regulations 402 CMR 2.00. Under this legislation, property owners may be granted property tax exemptions of up to 100% of a tax increment.

An increment is the increase in property value due to investments made by the property owner, such as building a new building or rehabilitating an older building on a given property. Example: A property's assessed value is $500,000. After improvements are made to the property and/or new buildings are built on the property, it is assessed for $1,000,000. In this case, the increment would be $500,000.

A municipality may enter into a TIF Agreement with a landowner for a maximum term of 20 years*. A city or town must initiate a TIF by a vote of its governing body (Town Meeting) approving the TIF Agreement.

The Town of Charlton Town Meeting will be asked to adopt the following TIF at the Monday, November 15, 2021 Special Town Meeting at Charlton Middle School.

*Note, the Town is considering a TIF Agreement with Amazon for a term of 10 years. This will help finance the cost of construction, after which time, Amazon will pay 100% of the taxes owed on the increased assessed value of the property resulting from the construction.

Proposed TIF - Special Town Meeting - November 15, 2021

Length (Term):

10 years (exemptions will begin the first fiscal year after the Town has issued a certificate of occupancy for the project)

Exemption Schedule:

Fiscal years 1 and 2: 55%

Fiscal years 3 and 4: 50%

Fiscal years 5 and 6: 40%

Fiscal years 7 and 8: 30%

Fiscal year 9: 20%

Fiscal year 10: 10%

Types of Taxes to be Exempted:

Property taxes pertaining to the value of land and buildings (no personal property taxes will be exempted)

Projected Savings to Amazon over 10 Year Term of TIF:

$11,642,250

Projected Net New Taxes for Town:

The Town will receive a projected $18,995,250 in NET new taxes over the 10 year term of the TIF Agreement.

In the ten years following the conclusion of the TIF term, the Town will receive a projected $30,637,500, making for a total of approximately $49.6 million in projected net new property taxes over a period of 20 years.

Personal property (furniture, fixtures, equipment, etc.) is estimated to generate an additional $16 Million over the 20 year period.

TOTAL: $65 million projected in new revenue over 20 years

The below table outlines the projected impact of the TIF on the full estimated Real Estate Tax Assessment (RE Value). The Tax amounts are not fixed and vary based on annual assessed value and the Town's Tax Rate. The Tax rate shown ($14.25) assumes a 5% reduction in the current Tax Rate of $15.01 per $1,000.

Personal Property taxes are not included in the TIF. Personal Property value depreciates over time and is annually reassessed based on the purchase of new furniture, fixtures & equipment.

Benefits to Charlton

The passage of a Tax Increment Financing Agreement would enable the Amazon project to move forward, which as a result, will mean the following primary benefits for Charlton:

New Tax Revenue

The Town will receive a projected $18,995,250 in NET new taxes over the 10 year term of the TIF Agreement.

In the ten years following the conclusion of the TIF term, the Town will receive a projected $30,637,500, making for a total of approximately $49.6 million in projected net new property taxes over a period of 20 years.

Personal property (furniture, fixtures, equipment, etc.) is estimated to generate an additional $16 Million over the 20 year period.

TOTAL: $65 million projected in new revenue over 20 years

These figures do not include the base amount of taxes that the Town currently receives from the property, nor does it include fees that the company will pay for permitting of construction.

Jobs

This project will result in the creation of a minimum of 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs (not including temporary construction jobs as the facility is built).

Community Partnership Agreement

Amazon has agreed to fund the following initiatives as part of the Community Partnership Agreement contingent upon the passage of the TIF agreement:

Improvements to Rt. 20 and Rt. 169

Install adaptive traffic control systems (ATCS) technology at 5 intersections to improve traffic flow.

Implement safety improvements at 4 intersections including Route 20/31 and Route 20/169.

Widen Route 20 to provide left and right turn lanes at the Project site driveway and install traffic signal with ATCS.

Modify Route 169 to provide a left turn lane at the Project site driveway.

Amazon Investment - $5,300,000

Sidewalk/Streetscape Repair, Replacement & Improvements

Improvements to the pedestrian network and general streetscape improvements in the Main Street and Masonic Home Road Area.


Amazon Investment - $1,500,000


STEM Education Investments

Donation to the DCRSD to support the purchase of educational equipment for the purpose of expanding STEM Education in Charlton schools.

Amazon Investment - $150,000 per year

For a total of $1.5 Million

Public Safety Equipment

Electric Extrication Tools - $75,000

Training - $30,000

Replacement of Rescue 1 - $650,000

Replacement of Automatic External Defibrillators - $25,000


Recreation

Funding for improvements to Charlton Recreational facilities managed by the Charlton Recreation Commission.

Amazon Investment - $400,000


Arts and Activities

Construction of Band Shell at Dresser Hill Recreation Area to host various outdoor concert events hosted by the Arts & Activities Council.

Amazon Investment - $350,000

Questions?

For questions relative to the TIF and Community Partnership Agreement, Contact Town Administrator Andrew Golas at Andrew.Golas@townofcharlton.net

For questions relative to the development of the project, Contact Alex Escamilla of Bluewater Property Group at aescamilla@bluewaterpg.com