By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM, N.H. — It was exactly a year ago that Enterasys announced it was moving out of Andover and returning to the Granite State after more than a decade, bringing approximately 600 jobs.
Last week, the computer networking giant completed its three-week move to the former Cisco Systems building at 9 Northeastern Blvd., according to spokesman Vala Afshar.
“In our 30th year, we’re moving back to New Hampshire,” Afshar said yesterday. “There is certainly a lot of nostalgia here.”
Enterasys is a spinoff of Cabletron Systems, founded by former New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson and business partner Robert Levine in Levine’s Rochester garage in 1983.
Afshar said it was a chore moving 600 employees and all its electronics and laboratories from its former 150,000-square-foot site on Minuteman Road in Andover to the new 190,000-square-foot headquarters in Salem.
But the move to Salem was welcomed by employees, Afshar said. Many still live in New Hampshire and will no longer have to pay Massachusetts income taxes, he said.
“They were definitely excited with the move, not just because of the compensation benefits,” he said, “but because you are moving to a bigger, better building.”
Employees had a voice in the move, he said, even helping choose carpet colors. Enterasys is leasing space in the 650,000-square-foot building, which is home to several other businesses, including Comcast and CCS Companies call center.
Enterasys began moving in mid-December, only a week after receiving its occupancy permit from the town. The company relocated during the holidays — a slow time for many businesses — because it would have the least impact on customers, Afshar said.
“The move couldn’t have been better,” Afshar said yesterday. “It’s not a traditional office move.”
Finding a larger location was the key reason behind the move, Afshar said. The Andover site served the company well for many years, but Enterasys needed more space. About 60 employees were added in recent months.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision to move here,” he said. “But there are just too many positives. ... We’re in a building where the sky’s the limit.”
When Enterasys announced its move in January 2012, president and CEO Chris Crowell said the company considered locations in both states and weighed the options, especially New Hampshire’s lower tax burden. He also said the Salem location would also provide easier access to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
Massachusetts officials, including Andover planning director Paul Materazzo and Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Joseph Bevilacqua, were disappointed. They said Enterasys’ move would be a tremendous loss to the community as the Bay State battles to keep businesses from moving out of state.
But what is Massachusetts’ loss is expected to be New Hampshire’s gain, bringing thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue to the state.
Salem officials are praising the move.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community,” town planning director Ross Moldoff said Thursday. “It’s a huge asset.
Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce executive director Donna Morris said Enterasys will bring much-needed jobs to town and help revitalize the local economy.
“We look forward to working with them,” she said.