NBCUniversal has broken ground on its $125 million, 160,000 square foot facility. The company says it's the largest investment ever made to build out a broadcast facility by a media company in Greater Boston.
When it opens in the fall of 2019, the NBCUniversal Boston Media Center – located in the Needham Crossing section of the N-Squared Innovation District -- will house nearly 400 employees from four primary NBCUniversal properties, including NBC10 Boston, necn, Telemundo Boston and NBC Sports Boston. Today those stations are spread throughout the Boston area, including some employees that already work within the N-Squared area while others are located in Burlington.
“The creation of our new media center represents the forward momentum and our continued commitment to local news to serve Boston and New England audiences, regardless of language,” said Mike St. Peter, President and General Manager, NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston, necn.
“Together with NBC Sports Boston, our teams will be able to strengthen their already strong news collaborations to super serve our audiences with quality news and information.”
An Aug. 16 groundbreaking ceremony marked the official start of construction on the site, which is adjacent to the current home of SharkNinja and not far from TripAdvisor, BigBelly Solar and The Kendrick, a soon-to-be-opened 390-unit apartment complex. It is part of the ever-evolving landscape of Needham Crossing within the N-Squared Innovation District as it moves from its roots as the nation’s first suburban industrial park and emerges as a vibrant, mixed-use location for life and work.
“This is a transformative addition to the N-Squared Innovation District,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman.“It firmly establishes N-Squared as a major hub; bringing skilled jobs, creativity and economic vitality here.”
NBCUniversal is building more than just a TV studio. It will be a full multimedia production facility that includes six control rooms, six broadcast studios and a podcasting studio. It will also feature an open floor plan, opportunities for collaboration and the “happy accidents” that drive innovation, as well as a number of features aimed at health and wellness.
Also included are kitchens for preparing healthy meals, a fitness facility, a nursing room for new mothers, outdoor courtyards, and even a doctor-on-demand room for people to take advantage of advances in telemedicine.
Needham Town Meeting approved a tax incentive finance plan for the NBCUniversal project in 2107 valued at nearly $2.1 million in property tax relief over 10 years. Projections show that the town will greatly benefit from personal property taxes — satellites, cameras, computers and other high tech equipment -- that will far outweigh the property tax breaks.
As part of its tax increment finance agreement with the town, NBCUniversal agreed to house a collaborative media space in its building and broadcast the N-Squared/Needham Crossing logo on air.
The company also agreed to offer shuttle service between its headquarters and the Newton Highlands MBTA’s Green Line station and the commuter rail station in Needham Heights, and to provide internships for local high school and college students.
It is only the second such tax break in Needham’s history. In 2012, Town Meeting approved a $1.8 million incentive package for TripAdvisor, a move that is widely believed to have sparked a renewed interest in what had long been an underutilized office park.
“A lot of complicated work has gone into this, by NBCUniversal, by government, and others,” Needham Select Board Chair Dan Matthews said at the groundbreaking.“But there’s more to it, and a simpler bottom line. The town sees NBCU as a tremendous asset to our community and region, and we hope NBCU recognizes Needham as a place where a long-term commitment will bring rewards.”