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Drug giant Roche will spend about $180 million in Oro Valley on new buildings and other capital investments while creating 500 jobs there over the next five years. The jobs, to pay an average salary of $75,000, will include positions in science, administration and manufacturing, as the heavyweight bioscience and pharmaceutical firm grows to meet the demands of an aging population, the Swiss-based company recently announced. The new jobs will increase the work force of Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems—which was bought by Roche in 2008—by up to 50 percent. The Tucson area is believed to have won out over three other regions that also have a Roche workforce, in Indianapolis, Southern California and northern New Jersey, said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. or TREO. Community and business leaders close to the deal said it’s been in the works for nearly a year and hinges on Pima County and the state providing key incentives. Pima County Supervisor Ann Day, whose district includes Oro Valley, said the county and state were able to put together generous incentives to entice the company to expand its work force at Innovation Park. The county will waive $8.5 million in property taxes and the state is offering $2 million in stimulus funds, Day said. Pima County will also offer work force training. “These are 400 to 500 high-tech positions that have a median wage of more than $70,000 a year,” Day said. “I just think it’s remarkable to have companies like Ventana Medical and Roche in our region because they are at the forefront of creating new medicine to treat previously untreatable diseases. Just think, it’s developed right here in our county.” Innovation Park has become a hub for bioscience research. Sanofi-Aventis also has a research center at the 535-acre campus, and the University of Arizona recently acquired Sanofi-Aventis’ older, smaller lab space a few miles from the park. Plans for that lab call for drug research, but the lab will also be used as a business incubator.
i/o Data Centers is planning to build a huge data center in New Jersey to serve as the East Coast hub for its growing colocation business. The company is in the late stages of site selection for a modular data center that will occupy 550,000 square feet of space, which would make the center one of the largest in the country. “We’re expanding to the East Coast,” said George Slessman, CEO of i/o Data Centers told Data Centers Knowledge. “We really think it’s critical for our customers to have both East coast and West coast options. We think it’s a natural progression.” The company currently operates two data centers in the Phoenix market , including i/o Phoenix, which at 538,000 square feet is among the world’s largest data centers. Last month, the company acquired a $130-million line of credit facility to finance growth, including the New Jersey data center and additional deployments in Phase II of its Phoenix site. Slessman said the company has narrowed its site search to two locations in New Jersey, including a greenfield site and a retrofit of an existing facility. Either site would be developed using the company’s i/o Anywhere modular data center as the deployment model. The New Jersey market already has seen several new providers open facilities this year. Earlier this month, DuPont Fabros Technology opened a data center in Piscataway; Senitinel Data Centers is in Somerset; and NYSE Euronext recently opened a colocation center in Mahwah.
Every year, somebody at our office circulates an email message updating us on what it’s like to work at Google. This message always generates a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” at the water cooler. The privileged few who inhabit Google’s high command in Mountain View, CA are living the corporate good life. In between tweaking the algorithm that governs 80 percent of web searches, these working stiffs can be seen: Serenely swimming in an Olympic-sized pool; Reclining in ergonomically designed “stress” capsules; Moving from floor to floor on a sliding pond; Shooting pool in the billiard room; Getting a professional massage; Having a personal chef prepare a five-star meal for lunch. Frankly, we’re fed up with the annual “what it’s like to work at Google” message. We’d like to forward it to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Strike that last thought. Google just announced it has plans for the Atlantic Ocean. The search behemoth is going to spend $5 billion to power a huge stretch of the East Coast of the United States with wind from the Atlantic. Google intends to leapfrog to the head of the alternative energy pack. The project would set up offshore wind turbines and a new transmission grid stretching 350 miles from New Jersey to Virginia. Google, which also is dabbling in robotic cars (they drive themselves), said it would provide 37.5 percent of the initial funding for the East Coast wind bonanza. Rick Needham, director of green business operations and strategy at Google, described the project as a new “superhighway” for alternative energy, creating jobs and eventually providing enough power to serve 1.9 million households. “We’re willing to take calculated risks on large-scale projects that can move an industry. Indeed, that is what’s made our company so successful to date,” Needham told a news conference in Washington. Google and its partners hope to begin work on the project, called the Atlantic Wind Connection, in early 2013 and complete it by 2020, subject to government approval. Needham said Google was open to further investment later. We can imagine how this project got started. Google founders Sergey and Larry were taking a stress break after a five-star meal at the Mountain View HQ. While they were lying on the massage table, Sergey suddenly blurted out: “Gigabits. Gigabits. That’s all we ever talk about. I’m sick of gigabits!” To which Larry responded: “OK. How about gigawatts?” We’ve got an uneasy feeling about this initiative. Creating a power transmission grid for the most densely populated chunk of the U.S.A. is […]
The largest public transit project in the nation—which was earmarked to receive the largest single allocation of federal stimulus dollars—apparently has been killed by a slash from the relentless budget-cutting sword wielded by New Jersey’s governor. Gov. Chris Christie abruptly announced this week that New Jersey is pulling out of an $8.7-billion project to construct a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Ground already had been broken for the rail tunnel and more than $3 billion in federal financing (with an additional $2 billion from the Port Authority of NY/NJ) had been arranged. More than 6,000 construction jobs were in the process of being filled for the shovel-ready project. The rail tunnel has been in the planning stages for decades as an alternative route into New York City for NJ Transit’s northern rail hub, which serves the most densely populated region of the United States. The Garden State’s commuter rail giant currently relies on two tracks that travel across the Hudson through a single, century-old tunnel which rapidly is approaching its capacity limit. After learning that original estimates for the rail tunnel project had ballooned by at least $2.5 billion, Gov. Christie said New Jersey could not afford its one-third share of the project’s cost. The decision shocked federal officials, who viewed the tunnel project as a crown jewel of the federal stimulus program. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is seeking an emergency meeting with Christie to try to get the governor to reverse course. The state’s portion of the rail tunnel funds reportedly will be reallocated to fill a yawning deficit in NJ’s highway and bridge repair fund. Despite slashing New Jersey’s bloated state budget by nearly $3 billion since taking office in January, Gov. Christie recently discovered that the state’s dedicated fund for bridge repair and roadwork has run out of money after years of underfunding by the state Legislature. The governor previously indicated that an increase in the state tax on gasoline, currently one of the lowest in the nation, is not an option to close the fiscal gap. We give Gov. Christie kudos for boldness. Let’s face it, it’s not every day that a state chief executive turns down more than $5 billion in ready cash from the Feds and a regional agency. We will reserve judgment on the wisdom of Gov. Christie’s decision. There are some nagging questions about the long-term impact of this action, and a few doomsayers are imagining a worst-case scenario that might confront future rail commuters in the Garden State. […]
Neal Wade left St. Joe Co. eight years ago to become director of the Alabama Development Office. He is now returning to St. Joe to spearhead the West Bay development in northwest Florida. BF: What attracted you to this opportunity and what do you bring to the table? NW: I’m bringing a whole new set of values and experiences I didn’t have before. If you’ve only been on the corporate side, state government can be a shock. It’s really been an education to me to learn how to navigate through all levels of government. I’ve also made a tremendous amount of contacts internationally as well as here in the U.S., especially among projects that we’re going to be targeting and among site consultants throughout the country. BF: Are there specific lessons you’ve learned in your state post that you can apply to your new position? NW: Government does not operate at the same pace that the private sector does–you don’t have the same abilities to make decisions inside state government that you do on the private side. It’s much slower [at the state level]. So you really have to pick your battles and figure out how you’re going to work within the system. It’s also really brought into focus that to be successful, you have to have a team: not just St. Joe, but local and state government, the new governor, all of those elements have to be part of the success we’re going to have down there. BF: How challenging is the economic environment in northwest Florida today? NW: We’re seeing a lot more activity than we were seeing two years ago. We’re seeing a lot of projects right now. Companies are preparing for recovery and the opportunity for activity is good. BF: What are the biggest selling points for West Bay? NW: In northwest Florida what we have to offer is an unparalleled quality of life, a workforce that can be trained to fit the companies we’re going to be targeting and we’re going to have a new set of sites that we’re going to make available over the next three years that weren’t available seven years ago. There are 1900 aerospace and defense businesses in northwest Florida, and when you combine that with the type of sites we will have available we’ve got a tremendous selling point. We also are changing the perception that the region is strictly a tourist destination rather than a major business location. BF: How important is the new Northwest Florida Beaches International […]
Pennsylvania State University researchers will receive $129 million over the next five years from several federal sources, including the Department of Energy (DOE), and an additional $30 million from Pennsylvania, to develop ways to make buildings more energy efficient. The funds will create an Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which will involve researchers from academia, the private sector and two national laboratories in an effort to save energy, cut carbon pollution and position the United States at the forefront of the industry. In addition to the $122 million grant from the DOE, three other federal agencies will provide about $7 million in funding, and Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged $30 million to the project to construct a new facility at the Navy Yard Clean Energy Campus in Philadelphia. The 1,200-acre Navy Yard site is a city within a city with a master plan guiding its development. A central feature of the master plan is the Clean Energy Campus aimed at making the Navy Yard and the Greater Philadelphia region a global headquarters for clean energy technology and policy. The Navy Yard’s size, its extensive utility infrastructure including an independent electric grid, and diverse building stock, combined with its future development capacity, make it the ideal location for a national energy efficient building initiative. Partners in the Penn State-led energy initiative include: Bayer Material Science; Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeast Pennsylvania; Carnegie Mellon University; Collegiate Consortium; Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center; Drexel University; IBM Corp.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Morgan State University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation; PPG Industries; Princeton University; Purdue University; Rutgers University; Turner Construction; United Technologies Corp.; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; Virginia Tech; and Wharton Small Business Development Center.
Coca-Cola Enterprises will soon break ground on a new facility in South Brunswick, NJ while expanding operations at its Carlstadt plant. “Coca-Cola is a world-class, Fortune 500 company that is recognized all over the globe as a symbol of growth and success,” Gov. Chris Christie said in South Brunswick. “The company’s decision to partner with and remain in the state of New Jersey is one of the clearest signals yet that our efforts to improve the state’s business climate is working.” Christie aides said the new 230,000-square foot facility in South Brunswick, set to open in mid-2011, and the expansion of the existing Carlstadt plant will result in the retention of over 1,000 jobs and ensure the company has the space to accommodate future growth. “After a comprehensive assessment, the decision was made to build a new facility in South Brunswick, and to expand our current operations in Carlstadt,” Michael Sullivan, Coca-Cola’s Market Unit vice president, CCE New Jersey, said . “Working with the state of New Jersey and the Christie administration, we were able to keep jobs in New Jersey and be well positioned to grow in the future.” Christie noted his administration’s new Business Action Center, a component of the New Jersey Partnership for Action which provides a one-stop shop for business, combining all economic development activities under one roof, including business retention and attraction services. The center has launched a business call center, where customer service representatives are available to answer inquiries and businesses will get a return phone call from an account manager within 24 hours. Christie said the Business Action Center will work closely with Coca-Cola as it moves on construction of the South Brunswick plant and will continue to assist other companies that have recently chosen to grow in New Jersey, including: — Intrasphere Technologies — Relocation from New York City to Jersey City, 300 new jobs); — Watson Pharmaceuticals — Parsippany expansion involving 175 new jobs; — UPS — Retention of over 740 jobs in sites throughout Passaic and Bergen counties; — Diversified Foam — 68 retained and 30 new manufacturing jobs in Gloucester County; — PNY Technologies in Parsippany — Chose to remain in New Jersey and upgrade its flash memory card manufacturing facility. This week’s announcement adds Coca-Cola Enterprises to an expanding list of Fortune 500 companies opting to continue operating in New Jersey, including Campbell’s Soup Co. Honeywell, and Pitney Bowes. Fourteen other firms from New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland have made the choice to relocate operations to […]
Materials manufacturer Baltek Inc. will invest $3.5 million and bring 68 jobs to High Point over the next three years, Gov. Bev Perdue has announced. Baltek Inc., a manufacturer of core materials for the wind energy, mass transit, marine and military markets, will relocate to a new manufacturing facility in Guilford County. The New Jersey-based core materials manufacturer Baltek will relocate its operations to High Point. The company plans to create 68 jobs and invest $3.5 million over the next three years. Approximately 56 of the jobs will be newly-created local positions and approximately 12 employees will be transferred to High Point from out of state. The average annual wage for the new jobs by the end of 2011 will be $43,544, not including benefits. The average annual wage in Guilford County is $38,116. The project was made possible in part by a $204,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. The company’s materials are used by manufacturers to make lightweight sandwich structures that enable end products to become lighter and thus more energy efficient. Baltek is a member company of 3A Composites, headquartered in Switzerland with 3,000 employees in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
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 […]