The basis for all economic development is investment. When private investment is not enough to move projects forward, public/private partnerships can help facilitate the best and most expedient outcomes. In January 2014, the City established a proactive approach to incentivize private development by creating the Amesbury Economic Incentive Strategy. In this Strategy, the City adopted economic investment priorities (see below) which serve as criteria to help determine the most appropriate and applicable development projects. The incentives include the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Program, Special Tax Assessments, and Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. While these are all important tools for the incentive toolbox, the City primarily focuses on TIFs. The TIF Application Process (PDF) is managed by the Office Community and Economic Development and the Economic Incentives Committee and can be explored in greater detail below.
Economic Investment Priorities
The City of Amesbury has established local guidelines for the Amesbury Economic Incentive Program (AEIP) to address blighted, distressed, underutilized and slow development areas. Due to past development, there are sites throughout the City that contain abandoned or contaminated facilities or require site improvements that are often in excess of financial feasibility. Other areas are characterized by limited infrastructure or commercial operations that are no longer economically viable. These sites can decrease assessed property values, reduce municipal revenue and are a drain on municipal services. To attract private investment into these areas, the City has adopted an Economic Incentives Program, which has been authorized through the Massachusetts legislature. The goals of the Amesbury Economic Incentive Program are to:
Stimulate private capital investment in commercial and industrial properties resulting in a substantive increase in net taxable property value
Encourage qualifying existing businesses to expand in the City of Amesbury
Attract new businesses that are compatible with the City of Amesbury
Foster redevelopment of vacant or underutilized commercial properties
Provide private funds to leverage public improvements that are mutually beneficial and necessary for the City and business community
Diversify the tax base and reduce the burden on residential properties
Stimulate the creation of jobs paying above the area median income for Amesbury
Increase the expediency at which redevelopment occurs by changing the financial options to development in a manner that favorably alters the financial feasibility
The Amesbury Tax Increment Financing Process
Amesbury has established a robust Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Application (PDF) to guide developers (aka, Applicant) and the appropriate City stakeholders through the process. These steps associated with the application shall be coordinated with the timing of the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) process to the best ability of the City and the Applicant. Please note: Although the Applicant is responsible for preparing the project applications, the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) is available to provide basic coordination, technical assistance and guidance. However, complex projects may require professional analysis and preparation that is beyond basic OCED staff support. Each TIF Incentive Agreement application will be judged on individual merit in the application of the City's investment priorities and during the course of the application process. For more information on this process, please email Angela Cleveland.
This is a chronological listing of partnership-based projects since January 2014. The supporting documentation for these projects are hyperlinked in the column on the right.
TIF Incentives Plan - January 2014: The TIF process began early in 2014 with the TIF incentives plan and guidelines. The plan and guidelines are meant to leverage private/public funds to address site constraints which prevent development. The City Council adopted the plan and guidelines and the TIF projects listed below have resulted.
Fashion Retail Market Analysis and Zone - March 2014: At the time, a development team was interested in a Fashion Retail project for the Golden Triangle. The City moved forward to develop a presentation based on a market analysis and established zoning to support the project. The developers unfortunately did not move forward. While every opportunity may not move forward, not making the effort will guarantee failure.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Rapid Response - Heritage Park Cleanup - September 2014: The EPA Rapid Response Team, working with the City and MassDEP, removed PCB's at Heritage Park and constructed a bulkhead wall along the Powow and Back Rivers.
TIF - 284 Elm Street 92-Room Hotel TIF - October 2014: The project received the first TIF agreement, for a 92-room $10-million hotel on a site that has been vacant for 30 years. The Hotel began construction in July 2015 and completed construction in November 2016 and is now operating successfully.
Solar Citizens Energy PILOT - March 2015: The project received approval for a PILOT to facilitate the construction of a six-megawatt solar field at the Waste Management landfill site off South Hunt Road.
TIF - 2 Industrial Way - DesignWerkes Manufacturing - August 2015: The City moved forward with a crucial TIF that enabled a manufacturer to expand within Amesbury. Moving from 12,000 square feet in leased space, to renovate an abandoned 43,000 square foot building. To date the company has already exceeded its five year commitment for job creation of 15 new hires and hired 19 employees. Fourteen of the new employees are Amesbury residents.
Leverage Economic Access for Development (LEAD) - Resolution - July 2016: Access to development sites is a crucial component of facilitating growth. Rather than wait until permits are filed to discover access is an issue, the City developed a local policy to begin developing access plans. This was established as a City Resolution after a presentation to the City Council.