Economic Development Update - 2014
The Town of Littleton is committed to economic development consistent with community character. In promoting quality job growth, we have a true partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, with whom the Town has worked closely in planning and implementing that vision through the MassWorks infrastructure grant program.
The 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan issued by the EOHED Secretary in 2012 included Littleton Common and the Littleton Crossroads of Route at I-495 among the State's list of priority areas for development.
Littleton Common. The focus of the Town's efforts has been Littleton Common, where Routes 119, 110, and 2A converge at Exit 31 on I-495. Littleton Common hosts the Littleton campus of IBM’s Mass Lab facility-- its largest software development campus in North America, with 2,200 employees-- and Sam Park & Company's The Point, which will create 400 more jobs. The groundbreaking for The Point was held on August 6, 2012; and its first retail establishment-- Market Basket-- opened on November 8, 2014. The grand opening of The Point is scheduled for the spring of 2015.
In 2006, town meeting voters authorized a tax incremental financing (TIF) agreement for 550 King Street; in August 2007, IBM announced its plans to move to that site to establish its Mass Lab facility. A 20-year TIF agreement was approved by EOHED’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council in 2008.
In 2007, at the request of Littleton Town Meeting voters, EOHED’s Interagency Permitting Board designated both the IBM Mass Lab and Sam Park & Co.'s The Point as priority development sites under MGL Chapter 43D expedited permitting. Both sites are listed as state priority development areas in the 495 MetroWest Development Compact Plan released by EOHED.
In a multi-year planning process with MAPC – the Metropolitan Area Planning Council -- culminating in Town Meeting's approval of the Littleton Common village zoning and overylay district in 2010, local residents identified a list of uses and amenities they wanted to build upon IBM’s 2007 decision to locate here, including hotels, restaurants, retail, and office space. IBM had their list; the voters had their list; the lists were the same, and they’re now our zoning by-law. This site that Sam Park is developing is working off of that list, and is the centerpiece for carrying out that vision while also strengthening the adjacent village center.
With Chapter 43D implementation funds from the State, Littleton undertook a traffic and transportation impacts study in 2009 to develop a set of transportation improvement alternatives for Littleton Common. That study led directly to the MassWorks infrastructure grant application the Town submitted in September 2011, for which $1.8 million was awarded by EOHED in November 2011 for the Route 119 (Great Road)/I-495 Interchange Traffic Mitigation Project to assist with the development of Sam Park & Co.'s The Point, and to provide improved access to the IBM Mass Lab Facility.
Littleton at the Crossroads. The Town of Littleton has launched an economic development planning initiative for the industrially-zoned land near the intersection of Routes 2 and I-495. The project goal is to provide consensus scenarios for development of the Upper Foster Street/Taylor Street/Porter Road area and the Littleton MBTA commuter rail station. The development vision will guide regulatory changes and infrastructure planning. Town Meeting voters had authorized a tax increment financing agreement for 151 Taylor Street where Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing expanded its local presence. Curtiss-Wright is one of many high tech employers at the crossroads of Route 2 and Interstate 495.
Along the Route 2A / Route 110 industrial corridor, The Town of Littleton has welcomed FIBA Technologies as the new owner of 53 Ayer Road, a half-million-square-foot industrial facility to house the relocation to Littleton of FIBA's high-pressure gas containment manufacturing business. In recognition of the creation of a net increase of 67 jobs, voters at the November 14, 2012 Special Town Meeting approved a 20-year Tax Increment Financing agreement for FIBA. By a vote of 141 to 7, November 12, 2014 Special Town Meeting voters authorized the Board of Selectmen to approve a 12-year Tax Increment Financing agreement for the Potpourri Group, an e-commerce catalog call center/ warehouse / finishing center business looking to relocate to a new 450,000-square foot building to be constructed at 3 Distribution Center Circle, Littleton. Potpourri employs 227 in other towns, but would relocate them to a larger site here, and add 130 jobs (for a total of 357). Some $49-million will be invested to construct and equip Potpourri’s state-of-the-art facility here.
Littleton Commuter Rail Station at the Crossroads. The Town looks forward to the planned 2013 completion of the Fitchburg Line improvements project, where dual tracks will be installed for the entire length of the commuter rail line in Littleton requiring a complete rebuild of Littleton station at its current location. The enhanced schedule which the Fitchburg line improvements will help bring about will greatly support local and regional employers like IBM, whose employees live in the Boston and Cambridge area and do a “reverse commute” to Littleton and this region each day. The Town of Littleton helped obtain state grant funding awarded to the MBTA in June 2011 for the acquisition of two hundred parking spaces adjacent to the Littleton MBTA commuter rail station on Foster Street, near the crossroads of Route 2 and I-495.
- Town Administrator Keith A. Bergman, updated November 2014