$3.3m package coaxes Flextronics into opening city innovation center

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
August 16, 2016

flextronicsState and city officials are providing more than $3 million in public aid to entice high-tech manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd. to open an innovation center on the South Boston waterfront.

The company has agreed to bring as many as 25 new jobs to staff the roughly 17,000-square-foot facility on Drydock Avenue, to be called the Flex Boston Innovation Center, according to documents obtained from the Baker administration through a public records request.

In exchange, Flextronics will benefit from a $3 million state grant that will help pay for renovations to its new space, according to the documents. The building is owned by the Boston Redevelopment Authority but managed by the real estate firm Jamestown.

Boston officials said they have also offered Flextronics a reduction in payments in lieu of taxes valued at about $300,000 over five years.

Flextronics is a massive player in the tech industry, with $24 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year. The Singapore company’s US operations are based in San Jose, Calif. But spokeswoman Renee Brotherton said Flex, as it’s known in the United States, wants a presence in major innovation hubs such as Boston.

The innovation center on Drydock Avenue, Brotherton said, will feature state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment that will be accessible to local universities, startups, and more established companies in industries such as robotics, consumer electronics, medical technology, and energy.

State and city officials said they have aggressively pursued Flex for two years, and that the company was also considering other cities such as Atlanta and Toronto for an innovation hub to serve the East Coast.

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