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New Jersey Encourages Urban Investment in Financial Services, Biotech, and Logistics

Development near public transportation hubs is priority for state economic development officials.

Oct/Nov 08
The Garden State is fertile ground for economic development. Statistics from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) show that from January through mid-September of this year, NJEDA executed 26 Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) grants totaling an estimated $47.8 million with relocating or expanding companies that are expected to create nearly 3,000 new jobs and invest nearly $400 million in their projects. "This past year, we have witnessed great successes in businesses entering our state, plus expansions in our targeted industries of financial services, life sciences/pharmaceuticals, and logistics," says Caren Franzini, chief executive officer of NJEDA. Some qualifications for the BEIP include the creation of at least 25 new jobs within a two-year period, or 10 new jobs for emerging technology and biotech companies.

 In financial services, the Standard Chartered Bank moved into the city of Newark with a 10-year commitment and a work force of 300 people to support its Manhattan headquarters. Arch Insurance Group relocated to Jersey City with 300 new corporate executive and support division jobs. Also in Jersey City, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company is relocating 950 information technology, finance and human resources employees from Manhattan to a 200,000-square-foot leased facility.

This year, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law the Urban Hub Tax Credit Program to encourage major capital investment around transit facilities in nine urban centers in the state. "The governor wants to promote urban development around transit," says Franzini. "If we have fewer cars on the road, that will lead to less CO2 emissions." This program is designed to spur developments in designated transit hubs within one-half mile of New Jersey Transit, PATH, or PATCO stations in the nine urban municipalities of Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, and Trenton.

The program requires a minimum $75 million capital investment and at least 250 full-time workers at that facility.

This fall, through state statute, the EDA consolidated forces with the New Jersey Commerce Commission, establishing a "new EDA that administers all financing and assistance programs at one point of contact," says Franzini. The new entity includes a specialized Business Attraction/Retention Team to act as a single point of contact. Integrating the international trade function within the EDA, the team will concentrate on increasing foreign direct investment and providing exporting assistance, with domestic and international outreach efforts focused on financial services, life sciences and technology, communications, logistics, renewable energy and manufacturing.

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