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How Can Newton Attract—and Keep—More Businesses?

Rent? Tax incentives? Better permitting? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.

Whether it's a large-scale company like TripAdvisor, or a small Chinese restaurant like South Pacific, Newton sees businesses come and go all the time. 

One of the most recent large-scale moves involves MicroChem, a Newton Upper Falls business that has plans to relocate nearly all of its operations to Westborough later this year.

MicroChem closed a deal on a 76,000-square-foot building in late December, paying $5.4 million for the site, according to the Boston Business Journal. The new site will allow the company to expand from its current 20,000-square-foot site on Oak Street in Newton.

However, MicroChem will retain about 5,000 square feet of space in Newton as backup, Westborough Patch reported. 

According to Westborough Patch, voters at the Aug. 7 Westborough Special Town Meeting gave MicroChem a 15-year tax increment financing deal that, according to Westborough Town Manager Jim Malloy, will bring an estimated $1.3 million to $1.5 million in additional taxes, as well as 63 new jobs, to Westborough.

Late last year, Needham voted in a similar tax increment financing plan for TripAdvisor, which has plans to relocate to Needham from its current space on Needham Street in Newton. The move will bring 450 jobs to Needham from the Newton offices, with at least 50 jobs added per year for the next five years.

While large businesses may move out of Newton for expansion or tax reasons, Newton sees many small businesses and restaurants come and go, some of which reference high rent as one reason for closing up shop. 

And as our Visions for Vacancies feature shows, there are still plenty of empty storefronts in the city.

Newton has is an attractive city for businesses -- but there's always room for improvement, right? How can Newton get more businesses to move in to its empty storefronts? More importantly, how can the city keep those businesses here? Larger office spaces? Tax incentives? Lower rents? Better permitting?

Share your ideas and opinions in the comments section below.

Anthony Munchak January 23, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Consider California and Texas. One is hemmoraging people and businesses. The other is growing and thriving. The difference is the regulatory and tax climate.
Mark Golden January 23, 2013 at 04:09 PM
The vast majority of businesses that close in Newton do not do so because of taxes or regulations. They will close because there is no one in the family who wants the business after the previous generation retires, or they cannot find the correct buyer to carry on the long tradition. We as citizens and consumers in Newton can't really do anything about those reasons. What we can effect is what I think the main reason businesses in Newton close. Most people do the bulk of their shopping at a mall or a big box store. In order for an independent to succeed in the long run, they must fill a need that only they can fill. There have been and will be many stores in Newton and other cities and towns that will close simply due to customers forsaking great personal service and in many cases lower prices for the so called convenience of parking in a mall's lot or buying in bulk at a big box store. The small stores have met the enemy and to quote Pogo, "He is Us". I would like to see the City of Newton offer free parking for one day a week, every week from let's say 1pm to whatever time the meters are "turned off". But these are not for long term parking. Max of 2 hours, with strict enforcement as the turnover of cars is very important. There are other ways to help the problem of the disappearing retailers, but a lot of the solutions are out of the city's control.
Robert L. Cerra April 06, 2013 at 10:34 AM
We need more and stricter regulations like some that are propsed and supported by the Democrats - Ban sugar large sugar drinks and styrafoam cups and oppose business that don't support Democrat Party philosophy. Bloomberg, Mennino and our own Rep Balser propose these kinds of ideas that are truely inviting to businesses. As the businesses struggle to deal with the economic issues they will be certain of help from our government officials

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