CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION APPROVES FIRST PROJECTS UNDER REVISED GROW NJ ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
New and improved incentives program helps businesses remain and expand in New Jersey
The Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) took action today to approve the first projects under the Grow NJ Assistance (Grow NJ) program to encourage businesses to increase employment in New Jersey. Grow NJ originated as a Christie Administration initiative in 2011 and was enacted into law in 2012. It subsequently was expanded and strengthened under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 signed by Governor Christie in September.
The enhanced Grow New Jersey program, now the state’s main job incentive program, will support businesses looking to grow throughout the state and provide New Jersey with a more effective tool to spur job growth in targeted areas. To enable smaller businesses to qualify for incentives, the revised Grow NJ program expands geographic boundaries within which businesses can qualify for assistance and lowers capital investment and employment eligibility requirements. By lowering eligibility thresholds, more small and mid size businesses can now be assisted.
“The revised Grow NJ program provides the State with an even more powerful tool to create and maintain jobs,” said Michele Brown, CEO of the EDA. “Together with the revised Economic Redevelopment and Growth program, New Jersey is primed for even more growth. These programs support the Christie administration’s priority to continue to enhance the State’s business friendly environment and remain competitive in the Northeast.”
The EDA took action to approve five projects under the revised Grow NJ program. These projects located in Camden, Neptune, Bridgewater, Newark and Jersey City are slated to receive a total of approximately $92.9 million tied to the creation of 900 new full-time jobs and the retention of more than 925 existing full-time jobs in New Jersey.
The Board approved a significant Grow NJ award of up to $39,502,500 over ten years for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., which recently acquired Bausch & Lomb, whose core businesses include ophthalmic pharmaceuticals.
Valeant is in the process of determining where to locate the company’s combined U.S. headquarters, either in Rochester N.Y., at the Bausch & Lomb building or to remain in New Jersey. The New Jersey option, which is under consideration, is a leased facility in Bridgewater; 274 jobs would remain in the state and 550 jobs would be created.
The Board also approved a Grow New Jersey award for WebiMax, a leader in online and digital marketing services that was founded in 2008 in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. The company earned the number five position on the 2013 Agency 100 list, an annual ranking of the fastest-growing advertising and marketing agencies in the United States. To accommodate its rapid growth, WebiMax considered relocating its existing workforce to Newark, Delaware. A Grow NJ incentive worth up to $12.7 million over ten years encourages the company to relocate to Camden. The project involves the creation of 100 new jobs and the retention of 50 New Jersey jobs at risk of leaving the state.
The WebiMax project was eligible for an increased award due to its location in a Garden State Growth Zone. The revised programs place extra emphasis on spurring development and private sector job growth in certain smart growth areas, distressed municipalities and transit oriented locations and in certain targeted areas, such as “Garden State Growth Zones” identified in the Act as the cities with the four lowest median family incomes: Camden, Trenton, Passaic City and Paterson. Of the four Garden State Growth Zones, funding is the most aggressive for projects in Camden.
Marathon Data Operating Co., LLC was approved for a Grow NJ award of up to $3.2 million that included a bonus for locating the project in Neptune, indentified as a distressed municipality in the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. The company provides office management, fully integrated cloud based field force automation software, and marketing services solutions to the pest control, HVAC and plumbing industries. Marathon Data Operating Co. is deciding whether to relocate its 74 existing New Jersey jobs to its Boston facility or a new location in Neptune. The company’s plans call for the creation of 35 new jobs to support its significant growth over the past few years.
A Grow NJ award worth up to $24.3 million over ten years was approved for IDT Corporation to encourage the company to maintain its headquarters in Newark over a competing location in Pearl River, New York. IDT Corporation is focused on consumer services with operations primarily in the telecommunications and payment services industries. The company’s Newark project receives a bonus for being located in an Urban Transit Hub municipality, and involves the retention of nearly 530 full-time jobs employees and the creation of 40 new jobs.
Another business that received a bonus for choosing to locate its project in an Urban Transit Hub municipality is VF Sportswear. The lifestyle apparel and footwear company was approved for a Grow NJ award of up to $13.1 million over ten years to encourage the company’s relocation from New York City to a new facility in Jersey City instead of Norwalk, Connecticut. Several senior executives as well as finance, accounting, retail operations and other administrative groups are among the 175 jobs to be relocated within the State.
The Board approved assistance to two projects under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (HUB) program, totaling $124 million. The first is to support a mixed-use development in the Journal Square Redevelopment Area in Jersey City and the second encourages significant investment in Paterson.
MMC-DB Group LLC was approved for a HUB award of up to approximately $105.5 million to incent the construction of two towers on the campus of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, an acute care hospital facility in downtown Paterson. The award is estimated to create over 300 new jobs and 665 construction jobs. The first tower, a 153,200-square-foot structure, will consist of a 132-room hotel, a 40,000-square-foot conference center, and a parking facility with 189 spaces. Plans call for this tower to be donated to a private operating foundation that will benefit Medical Missions for Children and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. The second tower will be a 104,874-square-foot medical teaching and office facility that includes a parking facility with 40 spaces. St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center intends to lease space within the medical teaching and office facility tower.
In support of Governor Christie’s commitment to the recovery of businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Board approved two Stronger NJ Business loans totaling over $5.3 million. McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright was completely destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The popular waterfront restaurant along the Shrewsbury River received a $3 million loan to rebuild their establishment and support their working capital needs. Atlantis Realty Associates in Brick received a $2.3 million construction loan to help the business purchase equipment and fixtures to complete renovations and resume normal business operations. This assistance is expected to create a total of over 60 construction jobs in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
To help advance New Jersey’s preparation for state emergencies, the Board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the EDA and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management for the Retail Fuel Station – Energy Resiliency Program. This program is designed to assist owners of eligible retail fuel stations with enhancing their operational resiliency when extensive power outages render liquid fuel pumps and point of sale systems inoperable.
EDA Board meetings are typically held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 36 West State Street in Trenton. The Board meeting schedule, as well as Board agendas and minutes, are available at www.njeda.com. All Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).