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Needham grants tax break to lure TripAdvisor from Newton

Posted by Leslie Anderson  December 3, 2012 09:22 PM

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Needham Town Meeting members voted Monday night to grant a major tax break to TripAdvisor LLC to attract the online travel company to move its corporate headquarters from Newton to Needham.

The vote allows the town to offer TripAdvisor a tax increment financing plan, which grants the company a 76 percent exemption on its taxes for new development for five years, and then a 1 percent exemption for the next eight years.

The company has plans to build at least one 230,000 square foot facility in Needham’s New England Business Center, and will relocate 450 jobs from its new location and create an additional 250 jobs over the next five years.

It is the first tax plan of its kind that Needham has ever offered, and some Town Meeting members were concerned that granting a tax break to one business would invite a rush of similar requests from others. But town officials said that they have strict criteria for granting such a break, and it’s doubtful another business would meet the requirements.

Town officials have described TripAdvisor’s relocation to Needham as a “game changer” that will pump life into the quiet park, which the town has long been trying to transform into a high-tech corridor along Route 128. The tax plan requires approval by the state.

If the project clears its final hurdles, construction is expected to begin next summer, according to town officials.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.

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