Regional Report: Mid-Atlantic States Grow Finance, Food Processing, High Tech Industries
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland are attracting investments in sectors ranging from finance to food processing.
Mali R. Schantz-Feld (November 2010)
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Area Development also honored New York with its 2010 Gold Shovel Award, which recognizes states that create the most opportunities for investment and jobs in a given year.
New Jersey is energized by the green power industry, emphasizing in-state production of renewable and traditional energy sources. The state is the top on the East Coast and second nationwide for installed solar capacity. It also has the country's first coastal wind farm, and is seventh in the nation for attracting venture capital investments in clean energy companies. The state government is focusing on wind energy. In June, Governor Chris Christie signed an agreement establishing the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to facilitate federal-state cooperation for commercial wind development on the Atlantic's Outer Continental Shelf. Additionally, the act creates an offshore wind energy certificate program and provides financial assistance and tax credits to businesses that build manufacturing, assembly, and water access facilities to support offshore wind projects. To simplify regulatory processes, the Department of State now handles all of New Jersey's economic development activity, with its Business Action Center covering business permits, licenses, certificates, and other business-related applications.
Long a food processing hub, New Jersey attracted Pinnacle Foods to build a new corporate headquarters in Cherry Hill after outgrowing its previous facility. "Staying in Cherry Hill allowed Pinnacle Foods to retain and build our highly-trained work force," says David J. Socolow, vice president of corporate affairs. "Pinnacle Foods is a key part of the food industry in the South Jersey region, which is a great place to recruit talented employees." Pinnacle owns some of the nation's best-known brands, including Duncan Hines, Aunt Jemima, Lender's Bagels, and Birds Eye Foods. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority awarded Pinnacle $1.1 million in tax incentives over 10 years to retain the company and its 130-person work force. The company expects to create 90 new jobs.
Other global food and beverage companies have been attracted to New Jersey. In South Brunswick, Coca-Cola announced a new environmentally sustainable 230,000-square-foot bottling and distribution center, slated to open in mid-2011. It will also expand its existing Carlstadt bottling facility. Both of these projects will retain more than 1,000 jobs.
Pennsylvania incentives are luring businesses to the state. Its 12 regional Keystone Opportunity Zones offer 49,000 acres of developable land, free of specific state and local taxes within certain underdeveloped and underutilized areas. Additionally, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority's (BFTDA) Technology Development Grants help emerging technology firms establish competitive advantages with advanced e-business systems.
Besides incentives, strong industry clusters are nurturing growth. In York, Unilife, a maker of safety syringes, is building a $30 million, 165,000-square- foot manufacturing facility that can produce 400 million safety syringes each year. Slated for completion late this year, the project includes a product development center, a microbiology lab, quality inspection and control rooms, and a fully segregated warehouse for efficient inventory management.
Unilife considered 17 cities in 10 states before selecting York. "In addition to common criteria such as the cost of doing business and quality of life, we also examined proximity to target pharmaceutical industry clusters and the ability to tap into an abundant pool of engineers," said Stephen Allan, Unilife vice president of marketing and communications. "Pennsylvania not only provided the right balance of location, talent, and business affordability, but had a government agency that was proactive in securing our investment and committed to building long-term relationships." Unilife, which is listed on NASDAQ, considered Pennsylvania's proximity to fellow Mid-Atlantic state New York. "It's also advantageous to be so close to the global financial capital of New York. Our decision to select Pennsylvania has thus proved to be a very smart move."