A $9.2 million Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CCIA) initiative will result in a Food Specialization Center in Bridgeton, NJ. The new center is expected to attract 190 jobs and provide flexible spaces, technical assistance, and other resources for growing food production companies.
The CCIA recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to construct the more than 31,000-square-foot facility. The EDA recognized the planned Food Specialization Center, to be located adjacent to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (RFIC), for its ability to “provide developing companies a full complement of incubation space and business services to ready them for facility independence and maximum growth potential.”
“Completion of this project will provide regional capacity to grow and retain the cluster of food production companies developing their operations here. It will, ultimately, foster job creation and new business growth in Cumberland County,” explained Gerard Velazquez, the Improvement Authority’s President and CEO. According to Velazquez, resources at the new facility will range from industrial food processing space, freezer and cold storage, warehousing (with loading dock areas) and shipping to food safety regulation, marketing and sales support.
The project, which is expected to involve 88 construction jobs and result in 102 full-time positions, will be built using existing infrastructure of Bridgeton’s Florida Avenue Industrial Park, where the Rutgers Food Innovation Center is currently located. The new Food Specialization Center will provide short-term accommodations for new businesses until they are ready to move to a fully independent facility.
During the last 20 years, the RFIC has mentored more than 100 start-ups and established food businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding region.
“Here at the new center,” Velazquez said, “these developing and other food companies will become better positioned to locate to independent industrial space in stand-alone facilities throughout our county.”
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