New Amazon Robotics Innovation Hub to move into AstraZeneca building in Westborough

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photo/Kelly Burneson Photography

By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

Westborough –  Amazon has announced it plans to build a new state-of-the-art Amazon Robotics innovation hub and create 200 tech and advanced manufacturing jobs in Westborough, at 50 Otis St., the site of the former pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Opening in 2021, Amazon plans to invest more than $40 million in the new site to allow Amazon Robotics to continue to grow its engineering, manufacturing, support and test teams in the state. The new 350,000 square feet facility, developed by Atlantic Management of Framingham, will feature corporate offices, research and development labs, and manufacturing space and will be in addition to Amazon Robotics’ current site in North Reading – together serving as the company’s epicenter of robotics innovation. Amazon has created more than 4,000 full-time jobs in Massachusetts, and since 2011, invested more than $3 billion in the state, including infrastructure and compensation to its employees.

Ty Brady, Amazon’s Robotic’s Chief Technologist, said the company was thrilled to be opening its new facility in Westborough. Currently, they own a smaller facility that employs several dozen people at 8 Technology Drive.

“We know that Westborough is a great town already,” he said. “We are really thrilled at the opportunity to expand here.”

“We are always working towards not only giving our customers an excellent experience but to always find ways to make it better,” he added. “We are looking towards not only offering the best in robotics but setting the standards for it.

“And we know there is so much incredible talent in this region that we can tap into,” he said, adding that the 200 jobs would be new ones for the company.

Brady noted that the location on Otis Street was a great fit for the company’s new location as it was just down the road from the Westborough MBTA commuter rail station on Smith Parkway.

“People who don’t want to commute into Boston or Cambridge every day may find it attractive to come out this way instead,” he said.

“We feel the location is an excellent fit, near so much great talent not only in Boston and Cambridge, but also Rhode Island,” he added. “Its also near a lot of top-notch schools.”

The company will move some of its employees and equipment to Otis Street next year, Brady said. The new facility is expected to be fully online in 2021. At this point, Brady said, plans for the design are still in the preliminary stage. As far as the iconic glass pyramid currently on the site, Brady said he could not say at this time if it would stay or be torn down.

“Its still too early,” he said, “but I can say that the new campus will be state of the art and awesome.”

Before AstraZeneca closed its doors at the end of 2015, they were Westborough’s top tax payer, paying just over $3 million in taxes in fiscal year 2013, according to the Town Assessor’s office. At that time, the facility had 180 employees, down from the 900 it had between Westborough and its Waltham facility in its heyday.

For Kristi Williams, Westborough’s Town Manager, the news that Amazon would be taking over the former AstraZeneca site was very welcome. And although there is still a lot of work to be done before Amazon goes live, town officials were ready, she said, to work with them on a smooth transition.

Not only would the site once again be occupied, it would also benefit many other businesses as well, she said.

“It just shows that Westborough can attract an international company,” she said. “There are a lot of town officials who have worked on this and will continue to do so. We are just so excited and happy to welcome them to town.”