SHREWSBURY – Physik Instrumente (PI) is considering moving its American headquarters to Shrewsbury.
During the Select Board’s Sept. 12 meeting, Physik Instrumente U.S. President and Marketing Director Matt Reck outlined plans for the company’s move of their American headquarters to Centech Park North, located at the corner of Route 20 and South Street.
PI manufactures equipment that helps companies create some of the world’s most high-tech innovations. The company is involved in semiconductors, automation, telecommunications, astronomy and more. Notably, PI has had their products included in the Mars Exploration Rovers and the James Webb Space Telescope.
“If you have something that’s owned by Apple or Samsung, laser companies, optics companies, you name it…there’s probably a piece of equipment that has some of our products inside of it. We help produce equipment that can work on a scale that is so small that you can really only see things with a microscope. Our job is to move things around in that world,” said Reck.
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Physik Instrumente is currently headquartered in Germany, with their U.S. headquarters in Auburn. The company also has operations in New Hampshire and California.
PI’s American headquarters relocation is motivated by increased customer demand.
“Even though we’re a German company, we design and build products here in Massachusetts using very-skilled workforce engineers, technicians, quality control people, things of that nature. Our parent company wants to do more of that, so we’re looking to invest in the U.S. and bring manufacturing back to Massachusetts,” Reck said.
As their manufacturing and corporate offices would be located at Centech Park North, PI would lease roughly 125,000 square feet of the newly constructed 197,000-square-foot building.
The town purchased the land for Centech Park North in 2002, selling the land to NorthBridge Partners roughly two years ago.
PI is currently in negotiations with NorthBridge to lease space.
This wouldn’t be some run-of-the-mill office. Reck described the office as having a “showpiece entrance way” and being the destination for training and foreign visitors.
About 75 jobs would be relocated to the office. The company would add roughly 100 new jobs in the next five years in engineering, product development and assembly-type roles with average salaries of $120,000. PI plans to invest an estimated $9 million into the property.
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According to Reck, the headquarters would be energy-efficient and conscious of environmental pollution.
After a yearlong search, Physik Instrumente eventually decided they wanted to call Centech Park North home. Town Manager Kevin Mizikar and Select Board Chair Beth Casavant met with representatives from PI the week before and helped the company decide to come to town.
“I’m definitely excited by the opportunity to have your company interested in Shrewsbury,” Casavant said.
Physik Instrumente is asking for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – a tax incentive under the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program – agreement to relocate to Shrewsbury. The town doesn’t lose any of the existing tax revenue at the property when engaging in a TIF. Shrewsbury has partaken in TIF before, including for Charles River Laboratories in 2006.
PI called TIF a “discount on future taxes of what the company plans to invest.”
Reck noted that the PI headquarters would help bring money into Shrewsbury – employees would commute to or live in town and frequent restaurants, retail establishments and recreation facilities. The “regular number of visitors” to the headquarters would boost local hotels, and food would be getting catered to the headquarters, leading to more business for food service companies.
“I’m familiar with programs like [TIF],” Select Board member John Samia said. “I think from a cost-benefit standpoint it’s extremely beneficial to the local community through the simple multiplier effect you put forward there. So, I’m excited to see what you’re thinking about.”
Community members will have to approve the TIF agreement at the upcoming Town Meeting in October.