Tag: NJ

New Jersey Corporate Moves

A new form of entertainment is coming to Jersey City later this year when Pole Position Raceway opens its doors just a mile away from the Statue of Liberty. The state-of-the-art indoor karting center will feature two giant race tracks inside a 75,000-square-foot-facility, and the location couldn’t be much better. “I think people are going to really be amazed at what we are creating,” said owner Eyal Farage. “Since I was introduced to this sport, I wanted to bring it to the East Coast, and there isn’t a better market or location. It’s appealing to people ages six to 60, and older.”  

Pole Position Races into Jersey City

Pole Position Raceway was founded in Los Angeles, California in 2005 and has become the nation’s premiere chain of indoor kart tracks in the United States with six locations. Those involved with the Pole Position Raceway brand includes 2004 NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch, 7-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath, X-games freestyle gold medalist Mike Metzger, and several dozen professional car and motorcycle racers. The company’s motto is “built for racers, by racers,” and they feel that everyone has a desire to go fast. Think karting is just kid’s play? Well, think again. The average customer age at the other facilities is 31 years old, and indoor kart racing is fun for the entire family and both casual and serious racers alike. The Jersey City facility will allow up to 10 drivers at a time to compete in side-by-side action. Best of all, the karts use electric technology so there are no fumes! “The idea of building a green facility was very important to me,” Farage added. “Electric technology has made significant advances during the past few years, and that really influenced our decision to bring it to this area. We have adult karts for racers who are at least 56 inches tall and separate junior karts for kids who are at least 48 inches tall.” With a plan to open additional Raceway’s in the Tri-State area, Eyal choose Jersey City for his first venue. First, Jersey City has become the “6th borough”. The transit system to and from enables millions of people from NYC boroughs to visit easily. Secondly, Jersey City dwellers are the people Pole Position Raceway targets to enjoy the karting experience. Thirdly, because a track requires a large space, most Pole Position Raceway’s are in industrial areas. “Jersey City has done a tremendous job incentivizing commercial business’s to add value in former industrial areas,” Farage said. The Liberty State Park area has easy access to highways and can be enjoyed along with other recreational and tourist attractions nearby. Lastly, The Jersey City Housing, Economic Development and Commerce Department along with the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation have been a guiding force providing direction and accommodating Pole Position Raceway’s needs. “They held our hands as we worked through the requirements including variances and applications. They welcomed us with tremendous enthusiasm and appreciation for our interest to be part of the Jersey City community. Being a member of the community and giving back is an important core value of Pole Position Raceway," says Farage. Eyal was also able to depend on the professional community within Jersey City to coach and support him through the building process. “I was introduced to Ron Russell from LWDMR Architecture, Engineering & Urban Design Firm who was born and raised in Jersey City and they don’t come more committed than that.” “What’s unique about Pole Position Raceway is the sensation that people get driving on a real race track,” said Ken Faught, president of P2R Karting, which franchises the tracks. “In most cases, this is the closest thing to real racing that people will ever experience in their lifetime. The karts are made in Europe and accelerate quicker than their traditional gas-powered counterparts. This makes it extremely fun and challenging to navigate a twisty track with other drivers.” The track, which is located at 99 Caven Point Road in Jersey City, will offer a variety of racing options. While many customers are the general public visiting on a walk-in basis, Pole Position Raceway also caters to birthday and bachelor parties, family/group celebrations and corporate events. “We expect there to be a lot of corporate team building events at this facility just like at our Las Vegas location,” added Faught, himself a three-time motorcycle land speed record holder. “Pole Position Raceway has hosted hundreds of parties for companies like Bank of America, Verizon, Infosys, Trump Resorts, Price Waterhouse, BMW, Target, Monster Energy, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, along with the Miss America pageant twice and Reality TV shows.” Pole Position Raceway is expected to open in late 2010 and includes a Tailgate Café along with video games, meeting and party rooms, and more. For additional information visit www.PolePositionRaceway.com.  

Camden UEZ Reaches Milestone

Since its inception, the Camden Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) has registered more than 150 businesses, creating 339 jobs in the process and enabling businesses to invest more than $584,504 in their businesses. The Urban Enterprise Zone Program (UEZ) was enacted by the New Jersey State Legislature in 1983 to revitalize the State’s most distressed urban communities through the creation of private sector jobs and public and private investment in targeted areas within these communities. The Camden UEZ was first designated in 1984. The Camden UEZ incentives that are available for business developments include: • 100 percent sales tax exemptions for materials and tangible personal property (rugs, building materials, computers, etc • Qualified retail businesses may charge 50 percent of the mandated 6 percent NJ sales tax on certain in person purchases. (50 percent off regular sales tax rate to your customers on taxable items) • A one-time corporation tax credit of $1500 for each full-time permanent employee who is a resident of a municipality in which a zone is located and has been unemployed for at least 90 days or dependent upon public assistance • Subsidized unemployment insurance costs for certain new employees with gross salaries less than $4,500.00 per quarter as per Department Labor schedule • Tax credit against the Corporation Business Tax of 8 percent of Investment in the zone by an approved “In Lieu” agreement with the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority and Municipality • Priority financial assistance from the New Jersey Local Development Financing Fund (LDFF) and Department of Labor Job Training Program Revenue generated from the 3 percent sales tax is maintained in a Zone Assistance Fund (ZAF) and is dedicated to use within the Camden Zone for certain economic development and/or public service improvement projects. The city Division of Economic Development provides prospective and certified zone businesses with a full range of services, including processing of applications for designations and annual re-certifications. Anyone interested in becoming a member of Camden City’s Urban Enterprise Zone, should contact the Division of Economic Development at: Vincent Basara, Camden Urban Enterprise Zone, 520 Market Street, Suite 13th floor, Camden, NJ 08102 or visit online at: camdenuez.org.

Paging Mr. Kong

For almost 80 years, the Empire State Building has reigned supreme over the New York skyline. Although it was supplanted as the world's tallest building in the 1970s, the Empire State Building never lost its unsurpassed majesty. The awesome spire that rose from the depths of the Great Depression in less than 14 months and soared into the imagination of everyone who wanted to touch the sky remains an iconic symbol of power, determination and achievement. The Empire State Building towered alone and apart from all the pretenders, a reassuring sentinel connecting our past with our future. Until now. A real estate outfit called Vornado Realty Trust has convinced New York City's Planning Commission that it would be a great idea to build a hulking 1,216-foot-tall monstrosity on 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, two blocks west and directly in line with King Kong's favorite roost on 34th and Fifth. If Vornado's block of granite and glass goes ahead as planned, only the top 34 feet of the Empire State Building's antenna will be visible to everyone west of the Hudson River. From the north, the two towers will look like a poorly planned replica of the World Trade Center, or perhaps the South Tower and the box it came in. Vornado is a large, faceless conglomerate that buys and sells properties. One of its first ventures in the late 1950s was a shabby department store in New Jersey called Two Guys From Harrison. After selling a few truckloads of discount lampshades, a second store was opened in another Jersey town and the name was reduced to Two Guys. From this inspiring vision, a real estate dynasty was born. The ingenious planners of New York decided to permit Vornado to exceed the height limit for its tower at 15 Penn Plaza by a whopping 56 percent because the site is across the street from Pennsylvania Station, gotham's busiest transit hub. The site of Vornado's proposed atrocity adds irony to insult. New York City natives painfully recall the City Planning Commission's 1967 approval of the demolition of the original Penn Station to make way for a third and depressingly round iteration of Madison Square Garden. The original Penn Station was a Victorian masterpiece. Its wanton destruction has long been considered the vilest desecration of New York's architecture in the city's storied history. The current Penn Station is a cramped and underground rat warren that is so bad the city has been trying without success for two decades to convert the mammoth U.S. Post Office Building across the street into its reincarnation. And they call this progress. The real estate interests have spoken and their money talks, loudly. There is only one way we can stop this, folks. Go down into your basements or up into your attics (or, in the case of Manhattanites, your tiny closet) and grab that drum set you bought for your teenager and hid after a few practice sessions. Take those drums and head for the open ground. Stand atop the Palisades, the George Washington Bridge, the Chrysler Building, Central Park's Sheep Meadow and all places in between. Start pounding those drums and repeat after us: "RAMA KONG!" We'll leave a trail of bananas to the doorstep of the New York City Planning Commission. The big guy will take it from there. He'll know what to do.

NJ Aims to Lead in Offshore Wind Energy

New Jersey’s new Offshore Wind Economic Development Act directs the state's Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to establish an offshore renewable energy certificate program that calls for a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from offshore wind energy. The act would support the development of at least 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity. The bill was signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie at a former BP port facility that will be transformed into a regional hub for the offshore wind industry. "Developing New Jersey's renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state's manufacturing and technology future," Christie said. The package will offer incentives including financial aid and tax credits to attract wind energy developers to the state's waters. Two offshore wind development companies, Fishermen's Energy and Deepwater Wind, already have plans to develop offshore wind energy off the coast of New Jersey. A report released last year by the Interior Department said shallow-water offshore wind farms could supply as much as 20 percent of the electricity in most coastal states.

Biomet Will Expand Indiana Plant

Medical device maker Biomet Inc. will expand operations at its base in the northern Indiana city of Warsaw and create 278 jobs by the end of 2012. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced the expansion, saying Biomet plans to invest $26 million in the project by expanding its headquarters and research and development operations and upgrading equipment. The company also will transfer some manufacturing from New Jersey. The state economic development agency offered Biomet up to $2.75 million in tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants. The Kosciusko County Council has approved 10-year real and personal property tax abatements. Biomet makes products used mostly by orthopedic surgeons for procedures like hip or knee implants.

What’s in a Name?

For years now, state and local economic development marketers across the country have been pursuing the holy grail of a catchy tag line that engraves their location on the subconscious of the nation.

The success stories are, well, memorable. Mention Las Vegas and “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” immediately pops into your cerebellum. New York is synonymous with “The Big Apple.”

Of course, along the way, there also have been some slogans that didn’t quite hit the mark.

In the 1980s, the Garden State came up with “New Jersey and You, Perfect Together,” which never really clicked. But that may have been the result of Gov. Tom Kean’s patrician accent, which rendered the tag line “Puhhfect Togethah.”

Enter the city fathers of Columbus, OH. As detailed in an article in Sunday’s New York Times, the civic leaders of Ohio’s capital have elevated their search for a new slogan to something akin to the Manhattan Project.

The Columbus Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotional organizations including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and the job-creating Columbus Partnership have joined forces to leave no stone unturned in search of the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with the intensity of a heat-seeking missile.

The city elders have named a special task force to come up with a new slogan for Columbus. The task force reportedly has been sworn to secrecy until it can reach a consensus choice, for as long as it takes. According to the Times, the task force is not expected to unveil a new tag line for Columbus until the middle of next year.

Apparently, the city is a bit gun-shy about moving too quickly to embrace a new slogan because six earlier branding efforts fizzled out. Previous entries included “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s Columbus” and the current standard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.”

“Columbus has not had a bad image,” Paul Astleford, director of Experience Columbus, told the Times. “It has just had no image in the national marketplace.”

One model the top-secret task force reportedly is eyeing is that used by nearby Indianapolis, which has fashioned itself the “Amateur Athletic Capital of America.”

Since Columbus is one of our favorite towns, we wish the city well in its quest for a new slogan. We look forward to seeing the winning line.

We presume the new slogan will not be based on the motion picture title of the vintage romantic comedy starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin, which was based on the novella of the same name by Philip Roth:

“Goodbye, Columbus.”

60 Seconds with Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development

BF: Louisiana has emerged as a national leader in workforce training with the Louisiana FastStart™ program. Is the availability of customized pre-employment training becoming a deciding factor in site selection decisions? SM: In less than two years, Louisiana FastStart™ definitely has become one of our most powerful and effective recruiting tools during site-selection competitions. As one of the nation’s top workforce development programs, FastStart offers companies world-class, customized employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery, and also can provide specialized solutions for companies in a wide variety of industry sectors—from automobile manufacturers to digital media firms to aerospace companies. All of these services come at no cost to the company. BF: The Deepwater Horizon disaster has caused disruptions in the oil drilling and fishing industries. Can FastStart play a role in retraining displaced workers from these sectors? SM: In certain situations, FastStart could definitely retrain displaced workers in the oil and natural gas industries as well as the commercial fishing industries. For example, if a company is expanding in Louisiana, FastStart could help the company hire employees seeking new opportunities due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or the drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama. Moreover, this could be extremely valuable for a company because FastStart would be able to identify employees with transferable skills, then train them using customized programs created through FastStart. BF: How has Louisiana has positioned itself to be a major player in the revived nuclear power industry? SM: Louisiana is well positioned to be a leader in the global nuclear renaissance because we possess a highly skilled and productive manufacturing workforce, a world-class workforce solution in FastStart, deep-water shipping infrastructure and a healthy business climate. Based on these strengths and early success in developing the industry, over the next two decades, the nuclear energy sector could create up to 20,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana alone. The Shaw Group, is developing a $100-million facility in Lake Charles, LA that will employ up to 1,400 people focused on constructing modularized nuclear reactor components. This facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. BF: If you could change one perception about Louisiana, what would that be? SM: One of the greatest challenges facing our economic development efforts is more closely aligning the perception of Louisiana’s business climate with the actual business conditions available here. Fortunately, we have made significant advances in reversing outdated perceptions. Companies now see in Louisiana an attractive business climate, high-quality available labor, low energy and utility costs, excellent logistics, an attractive business tax structure and one of the best workforce programs in the country.

ROLLING THE DICE

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has unveiled a bold plan for a complete state takeover of the Atlantic City casino and entertainment district, and the sell-off or shutdown of the struggling Meadowlands Racetrack. The Atlantic City takeover would remove virtually all local control from the gaming district, from police protection to garbage pickup. The plans were outlined in a report by a special commission created by the governor to fix NJ’s struggling gaming industry. Under the plan, Atlantic City’s entertainment and gaming districts would become an independent city within a city overseen by state government. That includes the casinos, the marina, beachfront and Boardwalk areas. When he took office in January, Gov. Christie pledged to dramatically reduce the state government’s footprint. He backed this up by slashing about $3 billion from the state budget, including nearly a billion earmarked for education. Now, apparently, New Jersey has found room in its state budget to pay for picking up the trash for privately owned gambling establishments. Louisiana was our top-ranked state for workforce training in this year’s Rankings Report. Stephen Moret discusses the program and other major initiatives.

2010 RANKINGS: KS, TX Surge in Biotech

Kansas and Texas flexed their biotech muscles in Business Facilities’ annual Rankings Report, released today. Kansas has been ranked the #5 state in the nation in Biotechnology Strength. The 2010 ranking is a major leap forward for the Sunflower State, which ranked ninth in the biotech category last year and tied for 10th in 2008.  Texas surged from sixth place to second place in the Biotechnology Strength ranking, firmly establishing the Lone Star State as a major national hub for bioscience-related industries. According to Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers, the upward movement by Kansas in biotech was one of the most significant improvements measured in the national publication’s annual rankings this year. “Biotechnology Strength is one of our most important and fiercely competitive rankings categories,” Rogers said. “Kansas clearly has shown that it is a biotech force to be reckoned with, and it has staked a claim to a leadership position for years to come.” Business Facilities factors more than two dozen criteria into its annual biotechnology ranking, including an assessment of state-funded research and development programs, interaction with institutions of higher education, and major projects announced within the past year. Perennial biotech king California, which boasts the strongest university-based biotech research network, repeated as the top ranked state in this year’s biotech ranking. Pennsylvania, which topped this category in BF’s 2008 rankings, placed third, followed by Massachusetts. Texas has continued to build its biotech industry, notching a 35 percent increase in biotech-related facilities and an 11 percent increase in total bioscience employment, according to the 2010 Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Initiatives report. Battelle reported that Texas now has nearly 3,000 biotech facilities and about 65,000 bioscience workers. “We were particularly impressed by the amount of R&D funding for biotech in Texas (approx. $2.5 million) and the number of higher education degrees in bioscience, which exceeded 10,000,” Rogers said. “Texas not only is building a biotech manufacturing base, it is growing a skilled workforce to support it.” Rogers cited the Kansas Bioscience Authority as a key driver in the Sunflower State’s remarkable progress in moving up the national biotech ladder. “Kansas has an impressive and expanding program, spearheaded by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), that brings together industry, higher education and government in a coordinated, targeted effort,” Rogers said. Rogers called KBA’s stewardship of a $581-million biotech investment fund “a uniquely focused and highly successful effort” that has made Kansas a national center for animal health research, a leader in pharmaceuticals and an emerging player in bioenergy. Already established as the epicenter of a national Animal Health Corridor, Kansas has been awarded with a trifecta of major government biotech research facilities, including the $650-million NBAF biodefense lab, the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Lab, and the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases at Kansas State University. The NBAF, which will be the nation’s premier biodefense facility, is under construction in Manhattan, Kansas, which was cited by Business Facilities as #2 in this year’s ranking of the top 10 metros for Economic Growth Potential. “The research undertaken in Manhattan will continue to grow in importance. KBA has put in place a solid foundation for exponential development that will lift the entire region,” Rogers said. Here are the complete Biotechnology Strength results:
  1. CALIFORNIA
  2. TEXAS
  3. PENNSYLVANIA
  4. MASSACHUSETTS
  5. KANSAS
  6. NEW JERSEY
  7. NORTH CAROLINA
  8. ILLINOIS
  9. MARYLAND
  10. OHIO
Business Facilities congratulates all of the top-ranked states in this year’s rankings,” Rogers said. For more than 40 years, Business Facilities has been the leading location advisor for site selection professionals

Christie Moves to Take Over AC District

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to make public a plan today that could bring Atlantic City’s casino district under state control, according to a report in pressofAtlanticCity.com . Sources said a key a key recommendation would turn over the tourism district of Atlantic City to state oversight, primarily in order to give the state an active role over the gambling mecca’s tourism and to make sure casino revenues are invested in local projects. According to the report, Christie’s proposal would create a state-run city within the city, with State Police taking over from municipal officers, and the state providing other services such as trash collection in the sections of the city containing the casinos and convention and entertainment centers. Additional proposals are expected to include: -- Not expanding gaming—specifically slot machine-style video lottery terminals, or VLTs—at least until investment has had a chance to return to Atlantic City; -- Closing the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, which handles marketing for the resort; -- Keeping all casino revenue invested by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for projects in Atlantic City; -- Selling or shuttering Meadowlands Racetrack and disbanding the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which also runs the Wildwood Convention Center. Christie is expected to release a report by an advisory commission on gaming, sports and entertainment, which lays out recommendations on how to boost the state’s gambling revenue, wean state-owned racetracks off subsidies from casinos and revive the state-owned sports and entertainment complex at the Meadowlands.

Battle Over Film Tax Credits Intensifies

The national battle among states to lure entertainment industry dollars has intensified this month, with several states upping the ante in film production tax credits whiles others are dropping out of the competition. On July 1, Florida became the latest state to offer generous tax incentives to motion picture, TV documentary and digital media producers. Florida activated its Entertainment Industry Incentives Program, which offers a total of $242 million in transferable tax credits over the next five years for projects that locate in the Sunshine State. More than $50 million of these credits are earmarked for the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Florida’s Office of Film & Entertainment has begun accepting applications for the Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive program via electronic submission for projects with a principal photography or project start within 180 days of the application date (principal photography or project start date must be July 1, 2010 or later to qualify). The priority for qualifying/certifying projects for tax credit awards is determined on a first-come, first-served basis within its appropriate queue. Eligible productions include films, TV, documentaries, digital media projects, commercials and music videos. About 33 states have adopted tax incentives to spur entertainment industry production in their venues, but some budget-strapped states are having second thoughts about the value of these programs. Included in the passage last week of New Jersey’s $28.4 billion budget is the suspension of tax credits for film and digital media content production in the Garden State. New Jersey had offered a 20 percent tax credit since 2006, but the votes to approve the budget by the state’s Assembly and Senate eliminated it effective July 1. About $15 million will be raised as a result of the suspension, part of Gov. Chris Christie’s first budget as the state’s chief executive. Producers, actors and others involved with two network TV shows that filmed in New Jersey—“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Mercy”—lobbied at a public hearing early last month to save the credit. Producers of the former have already said they intend to relocate production across the river to New York, which is considering raising its film incentives pool to $420 million despite a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit crisis.

You Are What You Eat

It's a problem familiar to Hollywood screenwriters and film directors: an idea that seemed like a sure thing during an artistic late-night brainstorming session ends up on the cutting room floor when it sends test audiences howling for the exits. Now, some red-faced state economic development agencies know the feeling. During the past half-decade, 44 states have adopted incentives to encourage film production in their neighborhoods. At least 28 states are offering generous tax credits to the movie-making industry, which has been seen as a surefire and relatively simple medium for converting unused facilities into job-creating locations. New Mexico, Iowa, Michigan, Louisiana and New Jersey, among others, have put out the legislative welcome mat to Hollywood. Unfortunately, some of these initiatives have not produced a feel-good Hollywood ending. In Iowa, state officials are reeling from a Titanic-scale incentives disaster that has resulted in criminal charges filed by the state attorney general against the former head of the Iowa Film Office and a local film producer relating to the filming of a 2008 flick called The Scientist in Council Bluffs. The state probe, which is ongoing, found that Iowa tax credits allegedly had been used to purchase luxury vehicles and other personal items during the making of The Scientist. Additionally, the state has accused the film’s producers of inflating the cost of making the movie from $767,250 to almost $1.8 million in order to justify the receipt of $1.85 million in state tax credits. Last fall, as news of the attorney general’s investigation became public, Gov. Chet Culver ordered the entire film program shut down. In the months that ensued, several top state economic development officials in Iowa were axed, including Iowa Film Office manager Tom Wheeler. Meanwhile, Michigan’s economic development mavens have uncomfortably discovered that promoting film production in the Wolverine State also requires them to be film critics. Two years ago, film producer Andrew van den Houten became one of the first applicants for Michigan’s generous film subsidy, which pays for up to 42 percent of a movie’s cost. The result was The Offspring, a cannibalism-themed horror flick that apparently went direct to video, never gracing movie theater screens. The relatively low profile of Mr. van den Houten’s first flesh-eating epic probably let it slip under Michigan’s image-sensitive radar. But when the producer applied for funding for a sequel, state officials were ready. Even though the new film, The Woman, was said to be tamer than the original, Michigan Film Commissioner Janet Lockwood rejected the application. Lockwood invoked a provision in Michigan’s incentives law that says movies underwritten by the state should help promote it as a tourist destination. “This film is unlikely to promote tourism in Michigan or to present or reflect Michigan in a positive light,” she declared. Lockwood specifically objected to “this extreme horror film’s subject matter, namely realistic cannibalism; the gruesome and graphically violent depictions described in the screenplay; and the explicit nature of the script.” Van den Houten responded by noting that Michigan had no qualms about the potential impact on tourism when it funded The Offspring. “We had babies in the first movie,” he added. And so ends another episode in the dog-eat-dog competition of state film-making initiatives.

NJ to Business: Choose New Jersey

New Jersey has launched a privately funded nonprofit to market the state. The $2 million effort, called Choose New Jersey, has recruited 15 local corporations to help promote and facilitate business attraction, retention and expansion. The new organization was announced at the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. in West Trenton this week. Choose New Jersey is part of Gov. Chris Christie’s New Jersey Partnership for Action, a three-prong approach to revitalizing the state’s economy. Sixteen business leaders sit on its board and have made a three-year commitment to serve as ambassadors to business and industry and further business attraction and retention initiatives. That commitment includes $150,000 per company, per year, for three years, which will give Choose New Jersey a roughly $2 million annual operating budget. A search is under way for a “world class economic development expert” who will come in and put a team in place, Verizon NJ President Dennis Bone, interim chair of the organization, told Philadelphia BusinessJournal. "When we benchmarked New Jersey to other states we found out New Jersey wasn't in the game, was not in the game when it came to selecting and attracting businesses to the state, programs to keep businesses here. There is so much more we can do in this area and that is the mission of Choose New Jersey,” Bone said. Under Christie’s state budget plan, all of the components of the state’s Economic Development Authority would be moved into a group that would serve as the one-stop shopping arm of the New Jersey Partnership for Action, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said. The Lieutenant Governor’s Office and Secretary of State would be the government arm of the partnership, she said. Christie said announcements would be made in the next couple of weeks regarding companies that the state is courting. Christie said his team is regularly reaching out to CEOs, and had three calls planned that afternoon. In addition to Bone, Choose New Jersey’s members include: Joe Colalillo, president, Wakefern Food Corp.; Don Correll, CEO and president, American Water; Robert H. Doherty, state president, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO, New Jersey Resources; Bernard Flynn, president and CEO, NJM Insurance Group; Edward Graham, president and CEO, South Jersey Industries; Rev. M. William Howard, pastor, Bethany Baptist Church; Robert J. Iacullo, president and chief operating officer, United Water; Bob Hugin, Celgene president and COO; Ralph Izzo, chairman and CEO,  PSE&G ; Vincent Maione, president, Atlantic City Electric; William J. Marino, chairman and CEO, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey; Raymond M. Pocino, vice president and eastern regional manager, Laborers International Union of North America; Kevin Rigby, vice president public affairs, Novartis; and John R. Strangefeld Jr., chairman and CEO, Prudential Financial Inc.

60 Seconds with Dennis M. Mullen, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Development

Dennis Mullen recently was officially named chairman of New York’s Empire State Development agency, which has been actively involved in revamping the state’s incentives programs. BF: The elimination of the Empire Zones program on June 30 has generated a lot of controversy across New York. What will you replace it with? DM: Since its creation in 1986, the Empire Zones Program has gone through numerous revisions and lost its original focus of attracting new business and enabling existing businesses to expand and create more jobs in economically distressed areas of the state. The Governor’s decision to sunset the flawed Empire Zone program and implement a new economic development program addresses the need for accountability and administrative efficiency, while providing a strategic focus that more narrowly targets state incentives to key sectors of our struggling economy. BF: Will converting incentives from loans to grants if specified job targets are met generate more economic development activity in the state and more relocations of businesses to New York? DM: ESD’s assistance is typically provided in the form of a loan or a grant. Recently, ESD has been offering loans that convert to grants if certain investment and job creation milestones are met. While loans and convertible loans have the potential to return funds back to ESD, all of our products are deployed to “win the project” and each is considered equally effective, based on the situation, to induce the project and create economic activity. BF: The Tax Foundation ranks New York near the bottom of its annual Business Tax Climate index. What are the most important steps you can take to improve NY’s competitive position? DM: We’ve created an economic development plan we believe is tight and focused. It concentrates on both job development and capital investment. Our go-to market strategy is a balanced approach centered around four key pillars: partnering with business and academic leadership; supporting New Economy job growth and capital investment; maintaining our core competency in manufacturing; and providing access to capital for small business. We believe [with] this strategy we will make great strides towards a more business-friendly and competitive New York. BF: Is New York positioned to be a leader in alternative energy manufacturing and renewable energy generation? DM: Yes, definitely. New York has one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country: the “45 by 15” initiative. By 2015, New York State will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy. This initiative [will create] an estimated 50,000 jobs and stabilize energy costs.  Through job training programs for displaced, unemployed, and underemployed workers, New York is creating the clean-energy workforce of the future. New initiatives in 2010 include supporting the development of in-State energy supplies, encouraging investment in energy infrastructure, and helping the existing manufacturing base transition to a low-carbon future.

SUPER BRAWL?

Last month, the NFL broke with tradition and awarded Super Bowl XLVIII to a joint bid from New York and New Jersey. The 2014 title game will be played in the new $1.6-billion Meadowlands Stadium in E. Rutherford, NJ, the first outdoor cold weather site for the big game in nearly 40 years. Unfortunately, it looks like the NFL may need to deploy its Super Bowl refs earlier than expected: NY and NJ appear to be gearing up for a huge fight over who will get the lion’s share of the spoils from the mega-event. When we asked NY’s economic development chief, Dennis Mullen, to predict the economic impact of the NY/NJ Super Bowl, he put down a marker sure to raise hackles across the river: Mullen said the event—which he referred to as “the New York Super Bowl”—will bring in $550 million, but he claimed that $500 million of this booty “will come directly to New York State.” NJ’s Sen. Frank Lautenberg, meanwhile, wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the game be called ”the New Jersey/New York Super Bowl.” Stay tuned.

Life Sciences Firm Relocating to Jersey City

Intrasphere Technologies, which provides consulting services to the life sciences industry, plans to relocate its offices to Jersey City, NJ next month, the Star-Ledger reports. The company intends to move 120 existing jobs to offices in the Harborside Plaza 10 building and plans to add another 180 jobs over the next two years. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority awarded the company a grant worth $12.4 million over the next 10 years (the money is paid out to the company as it creates the new jobs).  Intrasphere plans to invest $965,000 in the relocation project. “New Jersey has made it clear to us that they are interested in our business and in helping Intrasphere to grow,’’ Samuel Goldman, the company's co-founder and its chief operating officer, said in a press release issued by the economic development authority. “As a life sciences-focused company, it’s encouraging to be in the same state that many of our clients call home.’’ Goldman said the state’s Business Employment Incentive Program grant “was a key factor in having us make this decision.’’ Intrasphere, which was started in 1996, provides software and business services to life science companies, addressing such areas as drug safety, regulatory and business intelligence. In addition to its corporate offices, the company has a location in London.

NY/NJ Expect Big Payday from Big Game

It took four ballots—reducing the needed margin from two-thirds to a simple majority—but an historic joint bid by New York and New Jersey was rewarded yesterday with the selection of New Meadowlands Stadium as the site of Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Now, state and local officials are predicting that the first outdoor NFL championship in a cold-weather site in almost 50 years will result in an economic windfall approaching $1 billion for the nation’s largest metropolitan area. The recently opened  $1.6-billion Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ was chosen over competing sites in Tampa and Miami, The new home of the Giants and Jets seats 82,500 and just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. A major part of the NY/NJ bid for the 2014 Super Bowl was the attraction of hosting related events during the weekend of the game in famous venues in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop. "A New York Super Bowl has been years in the making. This is a great day for fans of the Giants, Jets, NFL and New York," New York Gov. David Paterson said. "Together, we are going to put on the greatest show in the history of professional football. This historic game will bring thousands of visitors and pump millions into the local economy. The bright lights of Broadway will shine on the gladiators of the gridiron. I want to thank Commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL for recognizing that this grand event needed a truly grand stage." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg  added: "In 2014, the world's biggest game will take place on the world's biggest stage. We're the City that hosted 'the greatest game ever played' more than 50 years ago, and we'll be ready for Super Bowl XLVIII. Our restaurants, stores and hotels will be ready. Our pubs, cafes and attractions will be ready.” And if it snows? “We'll be ready for that too--this isn't beach volleyball…it's football!” declared the NYC mayor.  Just in case, New York will call on the Department of Transportation, State Turnpike Authority, and New York City Department of Sanitation to stand ready for snow removal, he added. The NFL waived it’s requirement that Super Bowl venues promise a minimum temperature of 50 degrees F. in early February to host the big game. Based on an economic study conducted by Argus Group on behalf of the Jets and Giants football franchises, the New York Super Bowl will generate at least $550 million dollars of economic activity in the four to six weeks surrounding the game. It is presumed that of this total, more than $500 million dollars would come directly to New York State. Gov. Paterson predicted the event will bring in more than $750 million, and other officials exulted that a $1 billion windfall is not out of the question. “This is great news for New York,” said Empire State Development Chairman & CEO Dennis M. Mullen. “The National Football League's last two title games were among the greatest in the history of the sport, a New York Super Bowl will mark another historic moment in football. The thrill and excitement of the 2014 Super Bowl will bring an estimated 150,000 out of town visitors and an anticipated 400,000 to Super Bowl events here in New York. As one of the world's most watched sporting events, hosting the Super Bowl here in New York is a boost to business and morale. When people root for a team they also root for the city, 52 years after the 'Greatest Game Ever played' today's announcement is another reason to love New York." New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrated the Super Bowl site selection announcement in a sports bar in Carlstadt, NJ less than a mile from Meadowlands Stadium.

BIO 2010: Biotech Now Supports 8 Million U.S. Jobs

The BIO 2010 International Convention was kicked off this week in Chicago with the release of the BIO/Battelle State Biosciences Initiatives report. The report, which is issued every two years, indicates that total employment in the U.S. bioscience sector has exceeded 1.42 million, with another 6.5 million jobs indirectly supported by biotech. The annual growth in the biotech sector registered a healthy 1.4 percent during the first year of the recession, despite a decline in total private sector employment of 0.7 percent. The BIO/Battelle report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics projections forecasting sustained annual growth of 1.5 percent in biotech through 2018. Research, testing and medical labs added 11,670 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase, from 2007 to 2008. Medical devices and equipment added 10,140 jobs, a rise of 2.4 percent , for the same period; agricultural feedstock and chemicals added 5,021 jobs, a jump of 4.6 percent. Since 2001, more than 176,000 jobs have been added in the research, testing and medical lab sector, with total employment in the sector now topping 558,000. According to the report, only the drugs and pharmaceuticals sector shed jobs, with a decrease of 7,445 positions from 2007 – 2008. Average annual wages in the U.S. biotech sector were tallied at $77,595, compared to the $45,229 average for total private sector employment. California once again reigned supreme in the BIO/Battelle report as the biotech employment leader, far outpacing the competition. The Golden State is home to 221,096 biotech workers, followed by New Jersey with 88,854, Pennsylvania with 80,929, Massachusetts with 72,627, and Texas with 64,964.

Workforce Development Programs Transform the Empire State

Governor David Paterson's Excelsior Jobs Program is just one of several new initiatives the state is taking on to increase job growth and attract new business.

New York State offers unparalleled resources including a diverse economy, a highly skilled and talented workforce, and outstanding academic and research centers. Innovative industries and technologies make New York a great place to do business. To further enhance the state’s business status, Gov. David Paterson in January kicked off a statewide workforce development initiative by directing Empire State Development (ESD) Chairman and CEO Dennis M. Mullen and Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner M. Patricia Smith to work with businesses across New York on how they can take advantage of New York’s business development programs. “Providing New York’s businesses with the necessary tools and assistance they need to develop our state’s workforce is critical during these difficult economic times,” says Gov. Paterson. “By directing Chairman Mullen and Commissioner Smith to make sure businesses are aware of New York’s valuable services, our communities can work to develop the economy, get businesses hiring again and put people back to work.” The four-city, two-day tour kicked-off in Saratoga and made stops in Syracuse, Binghamton and Rochester. The tour promoted tax incentives, free recruitment and human resources expertise, and innovative marketing services that could save New York State businesses thousands of dollars every year. “Over the course of the past nine months, we have worked hard to create a cross-cutting strategy for New York State that reflects a thoughtful, multi-market approach to economic development,” says Mullen. “After hearing from business executives, university leadership and representatives of regional economic development organizations across the state, our senior team worked together to develop three powerful economic development initiatives. Governor Paterson announced the proposed programs in his Executive Budget. The Excelsior Jobs Program, the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, and the New Technology Seed Fund are specifically targeted towards our economic development goals; if enacted these programs will have a transformational impact on job growth in New York State. They are strategically targeted, fiscally responsible and results driven. When combined with our existing grants and loans programs, these initiatives will put us in a solid competitive position to realize meaningful, long-term growth and renewed prosperity in New York State.” According to ESD, the Excelsior Jobs Program is the centerpiece of the most innovative job creation agenda in the history of New York. The program proposes three aggressive incentives for companies in targeted growth industries, which create and maintain at least 50 new jobs in New York: 1. A new Excelsior Research and Development Tax Credit to support innovation and enhance New York State's role in the New Economy 2. A new Excelsior Investment Tax Credit to support capital investment 3. A new Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit for each new job created These firms also are eligible for three tax credits, each of which is fully refundable: 1. Excelsior New Jobs tax credit: between $2,500 and $10,000 per new job 2. Excelsior ITC: 2% of qualified investments made during that year 3. Excelsior R&D tax credit: 10% of the federal R&D credit that can be allocated to New York State Firms are eligible for benefits only after demonstrating job creation commitments have been met. Excelsior will only be available to firms in targeted industries, those with the greatest potential for long-term growth in New York. These industries include: biotechnology, pharmaceutical, high-tech, clean-tech, green-tech, financial services back-office operations and manufacturers. The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund was created for worthy New York businesses that currently cannot access traditional credit markets, with a focus on businesses that generate economic growth and job creation. The fund supports a wide range of small businesses—mom and pop businesses, retail, service and manufacturing businesses, with the goal of providing capital to “Main Street,” everyday businesses throughout the state. New, startup businesses may be eligible under certain circumstances, such as having a credible business plan, collateral and a track record of other business success. Eligible businesses interested in obtaining financing will work directly with the state’s local partners, which are selected through a competitive process, and can include private and non-profit lenders such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), credit unions and community banks. There currently are more than 100 such institutions throughout New York State and the fund includes local partners in every region. The goal of the New Technology Seed Capital Fund is to expand New York’s technological strengths and promote commercialization that leads to economic growth throughout New York. It is designed to support New York’s world-class research and development programs, nurture early-stage companies, and foster regional technology partnerships. The Seed Fund will create opportunity through innovation, which in turn will drive private investment and job creation in high-growth emerging sectors of the state’s economy. An “emerging business sector” is defined as one of the four following categories: 1. Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical: Drugs and pharmaceutical development, testing, medtech, medical imaging, agricultural/chemical 2. Advanced Manufacturing: Nanotechnolology, microelectronics, clean transportation parts and supplies, sustainable manufacturing, chemical. 3. Clean Energy: Batteries, fuel cell, energy efficiency, smart grid technology 4. IT/Software: wireless, network and information technology Eligible applicants may include for profit-businesses, not-for-profits, local development corporations and/or universities to facilitate economic development. Applicants may also involve a partnership of any combination of the above organizations; however, for purposes of awarding a grant, ESD will enter into a funding agreement with a single entity. The entity must show at least three years of fundraising and investment experience in New York state, demonstrate a proven ability to undertake financial due diligence on new companies, and maintain the capacity to manage all aspects of the grant. Regions with existing angel network funds, seed funds, or other regional technology development funds may be designated as the grantee for a Seed Fund Grant.

OSWEGO INVESTS AND GROWS

Throughout 2009, the economic recession that began in the United States in 2008 continued to deepen, resulting in a challenging climate for business success and, ultimately, survival. However, as the new decade unfolds, the economy seems to be slowly rebounding both nationally and locally. Despite tough economic conditions, manufacturers in Oswego County have continued to invest and grow their production facilities. Over the past year alone, Oswego County has seen companies such as Fulton Thermal in Richland, NY planning to invest $13.5 million in a 135,000 square foot expansion to include a research and design center where the company will develop and test new alternative energy options. The project will create 50 jobs. Oneida Lake Ready-Mix is a new company located in West Monroe, NY that will specialize in the production of concrete for commercial and residential use, as well as heavy equipment repairs and sales. The company constructed a 7,300 square foot facility and will employ approximately 29 people. Gun cleaning systems manufacturer Otis Technology is expanding its operations by locating a new research and development facility in the Oswego County Industrial Park in the town of Schroeppel. The project involved the acquisition and renovation of an existing 20,000 square foot building in the Park. The project is expected to create 15-20 jobs. Huhtamaki once again expanded its operations in the city of Fulton by adding new state-of-the-art printing equipment. The company employs 650 and is the second largest manufacturing employer in the county. Additionally, Sunoco, Inc. has targeted June 2010 to be in full production of 100 million gallons of ethanol per year at the former Northeast Biofuels plant in the town of Volney. The company has applied for Empire Zone certification and is projecting the creation of 69 jobs at the plant with an annual payroll of around $4.5 million. Manufacturing continues to be one of Operation Oswego County’s primary targets. In 2010, efforts will focus on helping to make our existing firms more competitive, helping to facilitate expansions, investment and job creation/retention of our manufacturing base, and continuing to promote and develop strategic initiatives to compete for and attract new manufacturing employers to the county. Like the manufacturing industry, the forecast for small business development also looks promising. New businesses in Oswego County include Great Lakes Recycling in the town of Oswego, Dunkin Donuts new facilities in the town of Granby/city of Fulton and in the town of Mexico, the planned waterfront renovation of Oswego Stevedore Warehouse to residential and retail property in the city of Oswego, The Bake Shop Eatery in the village of Mexico, and Seaway Lofts plans to retrofit an historic building into 26 units of affordable housing apartments in the city of Oswego. Business expansions include Mitchell’s Speedway Press who expanded their operations and acquired and relocated to the former Speedway Press in the city of Oswego and ongoing renovations of Oswego Hamilton Homes for Phase II, which will involve 59 more affordable housing units. In the healthcare arena, Oswego Health converted the former A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton into an urgent care center, and Oswego Hospital expanded and improved its emergency room complex in Oswego. For more information on economic development services in Oswego County, call Operation Oswego County, a private, non-profit organization working to enhance and protect the economic climate of Oswego County, at (315) 343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org.

BINGHAMTON: AFFORDABLE HAVEN FOR HIGH TECHNOLOGY

In challenging times, doing business in Binghamton makes more sense than ever. It is located an easy three hours northwest of midtown Manhattan, situated strategically between Syracuse and Scranton along the Interstate 81 corridor. In Binghamton, you are a few hours from the Boston-Washington corridor in the U.S. and the Toronto-Montreal corridor in Canada, the largest markets in North America. Binghamton is an affordable haven for high technology. We rank—along with San Jose, Cambridge, and Austin—as one of the strongest areas for innovation in the United States. The area boasts company clusters in aerospace, software, advanced manufacturing, communications, simulation, distribution and the services. It also is home to household name companies like Lockheed Martin, Gannett, Rockwell Collins, IBM, Frito Lay, L-3 Communications and BAE Systems along with a range of smaller firms who like Binghamton’s combination of work and play. Impress USA, a metal can manufacturer based in Pittsburgh, is building a more than $30 million facility in the Broome Corporate Park in Conklin. This facility will likely employ more than 160 people over the next five years. It is projected to open in the fall of 2010. VMR Electronics, a maker of electronic cables and wire harnesses for the defense business is among the fastest growing companies in Upstate New York. The company consolidated its operations into the former Ascendia building, a 160,000 square foot facility in downtown Binghamton. VMR is making a $4.5 million investment including new equipment and plans to create more than 50 jobs in the coming years. Binghamton is very proud of the Charles Street Business Park. A partnership among Empire State Development, the City of Binghamton, and the Broome County IDA has created one of the premier business parks in the northeast. The 32-acre site, a former Brownfield, is now home to Emerson Network Power’s 40,000 square feet Binghamton headquarters. People from all over the world visit Emerson to learn about the latest technologies that protect and support business critical systems. The Charles Street Park is in a Federal HUBZone creating many potential advantages for businesses that locate there. There are 3-4 additional sites available. Many regional companies enjoy a strong partnership with Binghamton University, a premier global public institution ranked by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of the best values in public colleges anywhere.  The University features stellar academics, amazing research, and a strong international focus. In Binghamton, people like to brag about the quality of life. It means excellent schools, an opera and a symphony, strong minor league baseball and hockey, Division I athletics and a fast-growing arts scene. According to U.S. News and World Report, Binghamton is the most affordable place to retire in the United States. The median sale price for an existing single family home in 2009 held steady at $109,000 and is up more than 7% since 2007. Binghamton’s superb transportation system makes it possible to get to the Adirondacks, the Poconos, and the tremendous fly-fishing along the Delaware River in a matter of hours. And if you like winery tours and tastings we are a short distance from the Finger Lakes, one of the Wine Spectator’s emerging wine regions in the world. We have recently launched BinghamtonBiz on Twitter. Our feed promotes Binghamton business to a global audience. We have attracted followers in the small business, venture capital and media communities from across the United States. Find us on the web at twitter.com/binghamtonbiz. BinghamtonBiz has a companion channel on YouTube where users may find interviews with regional business leaders, virtual tours of key properties and recent national commercials. For more on business in Binghamton, visit the BCIDA’s website, www.bcida.com, including a searchable property database, an interactive profile of the region and a link to our incentives and programs. As quality of life becomes increasingly important to overall business success, we encourage you to consider Binghamton.

ISLIP LEADS THE WAY

The Town of Islip is located in southern Suffolk County, New York on the south shore of Long Island. The town consistently leads the Long Island region in business activity, as measured by its Industrial Development deals, SBA 504 loans and New York State Job Development Authority loans. Islip’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) was selected as an honoree for the 2009 Real Estate Awards as the IDA of the Year in Suffolk County. The honorees are selected by the editorial staff of Long Island Business News and are based on the impact of each project on the local economy. The Islip IDA was recognized for helping bring several companies to the town, such as Blackman Plumbing, which has invested $25 million in a new corporate headquarters in Bayport and will employ over 160 people. Other success stories include the Perfume Center of America’s construction of a 165,000-square-foot facility in Ronkonkoma and U.S. Alliance Paper’s construction of an 80,000- square-foot facility, both of which will employ close to 100 workers each. The town’s convenient location to the Long Island MacArthur Airport helps companies conduct business more effectively and efficiently. The airport is one of the fastest growing airports and is recognized as one of the top five regional airports in the United States. Two valuable incentive programs for companies locating in Islip are its Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and Empire Zone. Companies can import certain types of merchandise into an FTZ without going through formal customs entry procedures or paying import duties. Islip’s FTZ #52 has 435,000 square feet of prime warehouse and office space located on 52 acres of land. The Empire Zone program offers development and redevelopment opportunities for industrial, commercial, office and traditional downtown retail projects. It provides a variety of state and local tax incentives and economic development benefits that can allow businesses that locate in the Empire Zone to operate virtually tax free. Zone benefits have attracted a variety of businesses, including Creative Bath, Cintas, Jasco, Corporate Courthouse Center, and the Long Island Ducks/Citibank Ballpark. Other incentives available for businesses include low-cost financing tools such as Tax-Exempt Industrial Revenue Bond Financing, NYS Job Development Authority, Federal SBA 504 Loans; tax abatements, exemptions, and credits such as Industrial Development Agency; grants such as NYS Industrial Effectiveness Program and NYS Environmental Investment Program; technical assistance including NYS Global Export Marketing Services, NYS Manufacturing Assistance Program, and energy conservation tools such as National Grid Energy Efficiency Program, LIPA Energy Efficiency Program, LIPA Commercial Construction Program, and National Grid Cinderella Program. Islip has a strong food manufacturing and distribution industry and offers numerous state and local economic incentives that provide critical support to help companies build and grow their facilities. In 2008, the New York Office of Economic Development (OED) provided a grant to help Constance Food Group build a state-of-the-art green manufacturing facility. Constance supplies goods to all of the 7-Eleven convenience stores in Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Westchester County—a big job requiring a lot of water. Red Castle Bakeries found its way to Islip in October 2007 after being displaced from its New York City home by an urban renewal project. Lucille Minuto, Red Castle’s owner, says that Islip has provided Red Castle with an excellent workforce, customer base and access to major markets. If it weren’t for Islip’s location in the Empire Zone, Silver Lake, manufacturer in the multi-million-dollar baking business, might have located the company out of state. Islip’s OED has helped the company move to Islip in 1985, expand in 1999, and has played a crucial role in helping it stay competitive and be successful. Its customers include A&P, Grand Union, P&C, Sysco, Wal-Mart and Costco. Speaking of Sysco, the global leader in food sales, marketing and distribution is currently constructing a state of the art distribution center in Central Islip in the heart of the Town’s Empire Zone.  The almost 400,000-square foot facility will take advantage of tax incentives provided by the Empire Zone program and the Town of Islip’s Industrial Development Agency. J. Kings Food Service is the 11th largest independent distributor in the country, one of the largest in the state, and the largest on Long Island. The location in Islip has helped the company to leverage its market niche by working synergistically with other town-based businesses such as Jonathan Lord and Wenner Bread, companies that use J. Kings’ services to transport their food products. Another company that has experienced great success in Islip is the Whitsons Culinary Group, a family-owned dining services company that has grown beyond expectations. It has been so successful that it had to hire 100 new employees, doubling job-growth expectations. In June 2006, the company was designated the Town of Islip Empire Zone’s first Regionally Significant Project, which has helped the company obtain real property tax credits, wage credits, investment tax credits, sales tax abatement and better LIPA rates. These incentives enabled the company to expand into a vacant lot across from its current location. The company now looks forward to adding another 50 jobs in the next three years. For information on how your company can expand in Islip, visit www.islipida.org.

Ports and FTZs: Gateway to Fair Trade

A variety of incentives enable U.S.-based companies to compete in a global marketplace. Current economic conditions have moved the government to increase capitalization of trade benefits created in 1934.

A “Port of Entry” is where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers or employees are assigned to accept entries of merchandise, clear passengers, collect duties and enforce the various provisions of CBP and related laws. These include seaports, airports and land border locations and provide the link for getting goods to consumers and transporting U.S. made products overseas for export. The U.S is the largest trading nation in the world for both exports and imports of goods and services. January exports alone totaled $142.7 billion and imports $180 billion. Approximately 360 commercial seaports presently serve the United States, the largest being Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York/New Jersey. Ports are found along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts, as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ports are gateways to domestic and international trade with more than 3,100 publicly and privately owned cargo and passenger handling facilities. Established by enactments of state government, public port agencies develop, manage and promote the flow of waterborne commerce. They act as catalysts for economic growth, and depending on the individual port facility, may accommodate anything from barges, ferries, recreational watercraft, passenger ships and ocean-going cargo. Ports also play a role in national security by supporting the mobilization, deployment and resupply of U.S. military forces. The increasing demands placed on waterborne transportation have been addressed through billions of dollars worth of port improvements. Part of the rationale to update and modernize facilities stems from the significant benefits ports contribute to local and regional economies. More than 13 million Americans were employed through commercial port activities in 2008. Additionally, U.S. businesses related to waterborne commerce contributed more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy and almost $213 billion in federal, state and local taxes—seaport activities alone accounted for $31.2 billion. U.S. ports and waterways manage more than two billion tons of domestic and import/export cargo annually, some of which include commodities and finished products such as corn, lumber, steel, phosphate, plastics, film, modular homes and liquid bulk cargo like crude petroleum and petroleum products—including oil and gasoline. About two-thirds of all U.S. wheat and wheat flour, one-third of soybean and rice production and almost two-fifths of U.S. cotton production is exported via U.S. ports. Plus, automobiles and the passenger cruise industry are dependent on deep-draft seaports, which handle ocean-going vessels that move over 99 percent of U.S. overseas trade by weight and 64 percent by value. The Department of Transportation projects that the volume of cargo shipped by water through U.S. ports will increase more than 50 percent by 2020 (compared to 2001 tonnages) and the volume of international container traffic—where cargo containers are transshipped—will more than double. Located in or near a U.S. Customs Port of Entry, Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) facilitate international trade and increase the global competitiveness of U.S. based companies by removing certain disincentives associated with manufacturing here—thus encouraging companies to maintain and expand operations. Regardless of proximity, foreign and domestic merchandise in these areas are considered to be outside of Customs Territory. No duties or taxes are paid until merchandise is transferred from the FTZ to U.S. consumers. Instead of companies having substantial monies tied up in Customs duties on their inventory, they have use of that money for operating needs. Once received at an FTZ, goods can be assembled, tested, sampled, relabeled, repaired, stored, salvaged, processed, destroyed, mixed, repackaged, manipulated and manufactured (with special approval) before entering U.S. commerce. Therefore, just like the duty on a product manufactured abroad and imported into the U.S. is paid at the rate of the finished product rather than that of the individual parts, materials or components, so is the duty on merchandise made in a U.S. FTZ. If a product never enters the U.S. market, no duties or taxes are paid—there is no time limit on how long merchandise can remain in a zone. Since the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934, businesses have been afforded such advantages as zone-to-zone transfer—duties may be deferred until the product is removed from the final zone—and a reduction in duties on labor, overhead and profit. Businesses in a FTZ can be granted special privileges, including “direct delivery” and “weekly entry,” that can substantially reduce importation costs and increase supply-chain efficiency. FTZ companies will also see reduced fuel costs, reduced transportation surcharges and improvement of container transportation capacity. The FTZ program has grown steadily in response to current economic conditions. Companies are doing everything possible to reduce costs and increase business. According to the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones, a not-for-profit trade association, there are currently 256 General Purpose Zones and 498 Subzones in the United States (including Puerto Rico). They handle almost $500 billion worth of merchandise annually. And, businesses are not the only winning parties. In 2007 the FTZ program directly supported over 350,000 U.S. jobs and continues to provide employment for thousands today. And while the U.S. government incurs a reduction in Customs duty revenue by the use of FTZs, it more than makes up for it by the income tax gained from direct and indirect jobs FTZs help to create and retain. In addition, local governments benefit from sales and property taxes.

PORT OF FREEPORT, TX IS READY FOR 21st CENTURY BUSINESS

Since its establishment over 100 years ago, Port Freeport in Freeport, Texas, has become one of the fastest growing ports on the Gulf Coast, and it is currently ranked as the 16th largest port in the U.S. in terms of foreign tonnage. Located just three miles from deep water, Port Freeport is one of the most accessible ports on the Gulf Coast. Its central Texas location offers efficient transportation via highway, railroad or intercoastal waterway, and its 400-foot-wide, 45-foot-deep channel ensures a fast, safe turnaround. The port’s land and operations currently include 186 acres of developed land, with 7,723 acres available for development, 14 operating berths, a climate-controlled facility, a 45-foot deep Freeport Harbor Channel and a 70-foot-deep berthing area. Future expansion includes building a 1,300-acre multi-modal facility, two multi-purpose 1,200-foot berths on 50 feet of water and two dockside 120,000 square-foot transit sheds. There is direct access to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Brazos River Diversion Channel, State Highways 36 and 288 and rail service provided by the Union Pacific Railroad. Created in 1988, FTZ No. 149 exists within the boundaries of Port Freeport. This provides manufacturer-shippers with duty-deferral, in-transit storage and assembly of products for import and no duty assessment on products re-exported. Available real estate and warehouse space, combined with an energetic and skilled local labor force make FTZ No. 149 an excellent choice for manufacturers exporting to other countries or serving U.S. markets. The port recently won approval to add another 1,633 acres to the FTZ. In addition to its status as a FTZ, port initiatives for the past 20 years have helped it to meet the demands of 21st century business and industry. Located just 50 miles from Houston, a huge commercial zone, the port recently constructed and divided Texas Highway 288 from Freeport into Houston to form a direct and quick route into the energy capital of Houston and the second largest manufacturing zone in Texas. In the fall of 2009, the port opened its Velasco Terminal, a project that encompasses the newest containerized cargo facility on the Texas Gulf Coast, as well as a berthing for ships carrying project cargo and other goods. It is nearly 100 acres and is expected to support almost 800,000 TEU’s a year. One example of a company taking advantage of its location at Port Freeport is Vulcan Materials Company, which transports aggregate construction materials. Demand for the stabilizing rock material has been so great that Vulcan brought 392,000 tons of cargo into the port from Mexico in the 2008 fiscal year, up 45 percent from its fiscal 2007 volume through the port, according to general manager Clay Upchurch of the Texas Coastal Region of Birmingham, Ala.-based Vulcan.

PORT OF BROWNSVILLE, TX: IMPROVING AND EXPANDING

Located at the southernmost tip of Texas, the Port of Brownsville is at the westernmost terminus of a 17-mile channel that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Opened in 1936, the Port has approximately 40,000 acres of land and more than 250 companies that make a tremendous economic impact on the community. The Port provides employment, directly and indirectly, to more than 38,000 people, locally and statewide. The port is restructuring and creating new business opportunities by improving its facilities. Several projects include a roads improvement project, channel deepening and widening and the seeking of a permanent overweight corridor extension. Another exciting initiative the port is undertaking is to establish itself as an attractive location for the cruise ship trade. This effort includes a regional collaboration to conduct a feasibility study to look at the challenges and opportunities for attracting a cruise line to the area. The cruise ship trade is an expanding industry that would be beneficial to the port by helping increase business in the area. The Port of Brownsville has established itself as a center of intermodal transportation and industrial development with diverse companies and services. It is continuously looking ahead for new opportunities that lead it to economic success. For more information visit www.portofbrownsville.com. The Port of Brownsville Industrial Park, Section 1, Phase 1 is now complete. Road, water and sewer are in and there are already two tenants located inside the park. Additional sites are available for lease off of State Highway 48. They range from one, two or three acre parcels depending on needs—with land open to lease in other areas as well. The Port of Brownsville is in the process of clearing and opening up additional acreage for development off of R. L. Ostos Road located inside the Port’s Turning Basin area with planned railspur access. Plans for the area located off of Ostos Road include more open patio space for the storing of port cargo, such as windmill components and/or steel. There is also land available off of old SH 48 where most of the Port’s liquid bulk cargo and terminal is handled. Information regarding land availability or pricing can be obtained by contacting Beatrice G. Rosenbaum, Director of Industrial Development at (800) 378-5395 or via email at brosenbaum@portofbrownsville.com.

PORT OF PHILADELPHIA:  GROWING FOR THE FUTURE

The Port of Philadelphia is situated in the heart of the Northeastern corridor. The facilities of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) handle a wide variety of import and export cargoes, including containers, fruit, steel, cocoa beans, frozen meat, paper and over-dimension/project types of cargoes. The Port of Philadelphia is the number one perishables port in the U.S. But Philadelphia really offers much more: the ports of the Delaware River rank number three in the U.S. for steel imports, and are among the nation’s key entry points for forest products and cocoa. Philadelphia has grown over 20 percent in container throughput for three years in a row. In addition, Greater Philadelphia is the fourth largest retail market in the U.S. and has the sixth largest gross metropolitan product. In addition to its state-of-the-art marine terminals, the Port of Philadelphia has the supporting infrastructure necessary for quick and efficient cargo transport. This infrastructure includes adequate channel depths, rail linkages, major highways, hundreds of trucking services and a network of private warehouses. The agency is currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the main channel of the Delaware River, the port’s artery of commerce, from 40 to 45 feet. This will allow the Port of Philadelphia to welcome a wider array of vessels, which get larger every year. PRPA is also in the preliminary stages of establishing a new multi-purpose terminal, SouthPort, which will significantly increase the Port’s cargo capacity. Southport is an ambitious plan to create a 150-acre container terminal near the southern tip of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. With international trade expected to more than double over the next 10 years, Philadelphia has the space to increase its share of global cargoes. PRPA’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) program, which covers Southeastern Pennsylvania, is a model for the nation. The Philadelphia Region also offers a General Purpose Zone, which normally has indoor and outdoor storage space used by a number of companies. This site is in close proximity to local marine terminals and airports. PRPA can also help individual companies locate in its Sub-Zones. Savings on duty and other costs can be significant if imports are modified within the zone.

PORTFIELDS INITIATIVE:  NJ HUB FOR JOB GROWTH

The New York-New Jersey metropolitan area is one of the largest most affluent consumer markets in the world. One important reason for this is its strong maritime, rail, aviation and highway transportation network. Strategically located at the heart of the mid-Atlantic corridor, the region offers efficient access to more than 105 million consumers in a single day. It’s maritime and transportation facilities rank among the largest and most productive in the nation. The New York-New Jersey seaport is the third largest in the country and the largest on the American east and gulf seaboards. Additionally, these maritime ports are seamlessly integrated with the metro area’s three-airports which handle nearly 25 percent of all U.S. international air cargo. New Jersey ports and its logistics sector are responsible for more than 500,000 jobs. And each year, more than 600 million tons of freight with an estimated value of over $800 billion moves into, through and out of the state. From 2006 to 2008 cargo volume increased by 15 percent at the Port of New York and New Jersey, and in spite of the current recession, this level is expected to double in the next 20 years. It was this growth forecast combined with a desire to effectively meet projected demand that prompted the New York-New Jersey port complex to position itself to capture as much of the expected traffic flow and corresponding new jobs as possible. It offered new, attractive and highly functional warehousing and distribution facilities in highly efficient logistic centers designed to speed goods rapidly along the supply chain. In 2005, New Jersey’s Portfields Initiative was launched as a joint project of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), and Public Service Gas & Electric (PSE&G), which spearheaded a public-private coalition of developers, logistics companies and communities to promote and market this effort. The goal of this initiative was to transform underutilized Brownfield sites into productive warehousing and distribution centers that would retain and attract logistics operations and create new jobs. There are currently 21 Portfields sites which have been identified as strategic centers most able to capitalize on emerging market opportunities and logistics trends for ocean and air freight-related warehousing and distribution operations. Each Portfields site is situated in New Jersey’s Port District, thus the name. Portfields plans call for over 10 million square feet of new and improved warehouse and distribution space throughout the Port District. These projects involve private sector developers and, in some cases, have private/public sector partnerships of developers and public agencies, which sponsor various projects. “New and improved Portfields warehousing and distribution facilities have already created jobs, expanded community tax bases and improved roads in a number of key locations. The initiative is on the way to assuring the viability of New Jersey’s ports in the future,” commented Tim Comerford, PSE&G’s Area Development Manager, who has been actively involved with this project from the start. Functionally, the Portfields Initiative identifies and helps advance Brownfield and other underutilized sites to “shovel ready” status––each able to accommodate at least 350,000 square feet of competitive, ocean or airfreight cargo distribution building space. Located in the Port District, these sites all have a minimum of 25 acres and offer easy access to major highways and port facilities. The Port Authority and EDA provide financial, technical and other support to developers who build on Portfields sites. Financing and technical support are available for planning, pre-development, site investigation and clean up, infrastructure costs, buildings and equipment and the reduction of energy costs.

PORT SAN ANTONIO:  A GLOBAL ADVANTAGE

Given its status as an international logistics platform, Port San Antonio understands the importance of duty-free inbound commodities and their impact on U.S. based corporations engaging in global trade. As a result, Port San Antonio’s entire 1,900-acre site is covered by a General Purpose Foreign-Trade Zone (#80-10) designation, which affords its customers the option of activation at any of the Port’s sites or existing buildings. Port San Antonio offers a total of 371 acres of Foreign-Trade Zone logistics sites on the grounds of its East Kelly Railport property. These Railport sites currently consist of the following classifications: air industrial sites; air logistics sites; aviation/airport operations sites; Foreign-Trade Zone industrial sites; rail-accessed sites; aeronautical-use sites; town center sites; and rail line sites. In addition, a build-to-suit option is available to customers through the Port’s Real Estate Division. Due to Port San Antonio’s designation as a Foreign-Trade Zone, a number of financial advantages can be reaped by customers who employ the property’s logistics facilities. Duty payments can be deferred, resulting in an immediate cash flow improvement for shippers. Since minor assembly of merchandise is allowable on-site, duties may be paid either on components or finished products. Lower inventory costs are also available to Port San Antonio customers, as reduced duty rates on imported goods can be achieved during the time they are warehoused within the Foreign-Trade Zone. Additionally, goods may be stored in one of Port San Antonio’s vast warehouse facilities for unlimited periods of time, improving the customer’s overall logistics processes. Port San Antonio customers often utilize the property’s Foreign-Trade Zone sites to receive and store international shipments before they are tested, labeled and packaged for distribution. Therefore, the maximization of Port San Antonio’s Foreign-Trade Zone status is especially beneficial to customers with the following specific operational requirements: assembly; warehousing; testing; repair; manufacturing; repackaging; salvage; and labeling. With ample office, flex and warehouse space currently available within close proximity to Port San Antonio’s air and rail services, prospective customers will be able to effectively streamline their importing and exporting activities. International shipments must be inspected as they arrive in the U.S. To meet this federal provision, the Port opened a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility at its on-site airfield in February 2009. The facility is utilized to conduct administrative and cargo processing functions for customers of Port San Antonio. An agricultural laboratory and several storage areas are also available for the accommodation of bonded goods. Prior to the opening of the FIS facility, all incoming commodities were processed either in Laredo, TX or at the San Antonio Municipal Airport before arriving at Port San Antonio. Given its ideal geographic location, Port San Antonio’s compelling advantage is its accessibility. The Port is located at the center of the North-South IH-35 NAFTA Corridor that connects Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, the adjacent IH-10 intersects the city from East to West and extends from California to Florida. As congestion slows cargo in other venues, Kelly Field (SKF) is only now emerging and, as a result, remains uncongested. This allows for the efficient transport and inspection of commodities en route to various destinations. With a myriad of opportunities for customers looking to maximize their shipping capabilities, Port San Antonio’s status as a Foreign-Trade Zone will continue to satisfy the stringent demands of the logistics industry in the years ahead. By partnering with the Port, shippers are opening themselves to greater opportunities in the international trade and commerce sector.

Mayor’s Report: Jersey City, New Jersey

New Jersey's Premier Destination

A fire on the moon

Forty years ago this week, three men were strapped into a metal capsule perched atop a 36-story marvel of engineering that had three million parts, enough liquid hydrogen to blow up a small city, and five titanic rocket engines, but less computing power than you can find today on your desktop PC. On July 16, 1969, the fuse was lit and the three-stage Saturn V, the most powerful machine ever built, lifted majestically off the launching pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Saturn V did not exist eight years earlier, when President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would send a man to the moon before the end of the decade. Human beings had never escaped the gravitational pull of the Earth, and even our best scientists were not certain of what it would take to get to the moon, or if it was even possible to land on its surface. The technology, manpower and expertise had to be organized and created from scratch in the most complex enterprise ever undertaken. The race to the moon was filled with breathtaking episodes of triumph and touched by tragedy. Alan Shepard's flawless 15-minute flight in a tiny Mercury capsule, the first American in space, was followed by Gus Grissom's adventure. As a nervous Gus sat in his bobbing capsule waiting for an aircraft carrier to pick him up after he parachuted back to Earth, he prematurely blew the hatch, sending the capsule to the bottom of the ocean. Gus was plucked out of the water by a Navy helicopter, but he and two other astronauts met a tragic end five years later when a spark in their Apollo capsule -- which had been filled with pure oxygen during a test run on the launch pad -- caught fire, incinerating the crew in a matter of seconds. The two-man Gemini program, which followed the solo Mercury flights, featured a series of astonishing firsts: the first space walk by an astronaut, the first rendezvous and docking by two space vehicles, the first weeklong space mission. The debut of the Lunar Module (LEM), the strange, spider-shaped craft designed for the moon landing, was not inspiring. Neil Armstrong, already a space veteran in the Gemini program, took the LEM out for its first test flight on Earth and promptly crashed in a parking lot. Apollo 8 provided an unforgettable and welcome respite to the unrelenting bad news of 1968 when it circled the moon and, on Christmas Eve, sent back the first incredible view of Earth rising over a lunar landscape as astronaut Frank Borman read the words of Genesis from the Bible. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong, a soft-spoken pilot from Wapakoneta, Ohio, and Buzz Aldrin, a hyperactive space engineer from Montclair, New Jersey, descended to a barren, crater-filled field on the moon's Sea of Tranquility in a LEM they called Eagle. Armstrong manipulated the small thrusters on the LEM and gently coaxed the craft over boulders and craters, looking for a smooth spot to set it down. With less than 30 seconds of fuel left—and a decision to abort the landing on the lips of frazzled mission controllers in Houston—Armstrong calmly counted off the last few feet on the altimeter and noted that the LEM was ''kicking up some dust.'' For a few agonizing seconds, an entire planet about 250,000 miles away in the airless black void of space held its collective breath. Then: ''Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.'' A few hours later, after patiently listening to Buzz Aldrin's numerous requests to let him go first, Neil Armstrong gingerly stepped down the Eagle's ladder in his bulky white spacesuit. He paused at the last step, perhaps contemplating the theories of some skeptics at NASA who had postulated that the surface of the moon could not support the weight of a man. The first man who stepped on the moon would simply sink and never be heard from again, they said. Armstrong jumped off the ladder, and said ''That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.'' Forty years later, human beings on Earth are still grappling with age-old problems of war, poverty and disease, and some modern human-created nightmares like global warming and nuclear proliferation. From time to time, we wonder if the inexorable march of progress has faltered, if perhaps we are sliding backwards. We wonder if we still have the right stuff. But high above us in the nighttime summer sky, the moon beckons, carrying Neil Armstrong's footprint and waiting for us to take another giant leap. They said it couldn't be done. We did it.

KABR Buys “Class A” NJ Office Space

KABR Real Estate Investment Partners, LLC announced today that it has purchased a 235,000-square-foot commercial office building in Ridgefield Park, NJ from AIG.

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