Methuen is a little over a half hour north of Boston, the home of New Balance’s corporate headquarters, and is near other facilities operated by New Balance — including a factory store in neighboring Lawrence, Massachusetts.
The city, led by Mayor James Jajuga, is currently putting together a benefits package to close the deal on a new facility it hopes will bring jobs to the area.
“Having a great Massachusetts company like New Balance Athletics see the value of expanding their manufacturing footprint here in Methuen is a win for our city,” Jajuga said in a statement.
Continuing, Jajuga said, “Not only will this new facility bring millions of dollars of investment, it will, most importantly, create jobs,” adding that, “These are the opportunities that will allow Methuen to expand our commercial base, create opportunity for our residents, provide additional economic development and improve the fiscal health of our city.”
The facility, according to New Balance, will be equipped with advanced manufacturing capabilities like 3-D printing, and it will also house a research and development lab. The likely location is 596 Lowell St., where an 80,000 square foot building already stands. The existing structure and land was previously owned by local electronics manufacturing companies, according to the region’s Eagle Tribune.
Details in New Balance’s proposal include a $15 million investment in the Lowell St. property, which could create 75 permanent jobs.
“This is as exciting a business to attract to this community as you get,” Metheun economic and community development director William Buckley told the Tribune. “New Balance has a strong track record of good jobs and quality, innovative manufacturing. We’re happy to be able to site a facility that’s going to complement the work they’re currently doing in Lawrence.”
Buckley and Jujuga are part of a city coalition that is seeking to “fast-track” a zoning change for the area to allow industrial manufacturing and research and development. They are also in talks with the Massachusetts Office of Business development, according to Buckley, for a benefits package to seal the deal. Buckley said he was confident negotiations had “reached a point that we can cross some T’s and dot some I’s and make this happen.”
New Balance could prove a positive bedfellow for a community. The organization was recently reaccredited by the Fair Labor Association for its “deep commitment to ethical sourcing for the products that bear New Balance’s name.”
The advanced manufacturing project could begin construction as soon as the next 12 to 18 months, according to New Balance.
“New Balance is excited about the opportunity to expand our domestic manufacturing footprint in the Merrimac Valley through our intent to purchase 596 Lowell Street in Methuen,” Amy Dow, New Balance director of public relations and government affairs, said in a joint statement with the mayor’s office. “This factory would complement our existing manufacturing facility in Lawrence by specifically housing our advanced manufacturing operations… We greatly appreciate the support of Mayor Jajuga and the Department of Economic & Community Development in helping us to achieve our goals of continued innovation in manufacturing and increased workforce opportunities.”