Haverhill Recovers $462,000 in Property Tax Breaks from Bankrupt Brooks Brothers Factory

A construction fence now surrounds the Southwick building as Amazon renovates. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill has recovered $462,000 in property tax breaks it gave Southwick Clothing, manufacturer of Brooks Brothers suits.

Southwick closed its Haverhill factory in the Broadway Industrial Park last year along with plants in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Garland, N.C., and filed for bankruptcy protection. Ultimately, its Haverhill property was sold for $14 million and will be used by Amazon for a distribution center.

Last August, the city told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware that it was owed the money because the company did not live up to its obligations to keep 468 jobs and add another 70 new jobs after it relocated from Lawrence to Haverhill. Property tax reductions were given to Southwick as part of a TIF—Tax Increment Financing—agreement in 2014, and used from 2016 to 2020.

In a statement Wednesday, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said “Giving them a tax break to bring them here and save those jobs was the right thing to do for our city and for the families who had jobs.”

“This money will help us to balance next year’s budget and provide our citizens with the services they need and deserve,” the mayor said. His office added the money can’t be spent until the state Department of Revenue certifies the city’s surplus, known as “free cash,” this fall.

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