New Jersey: Economic Growth Renewed

The Garden State saw a landmark year in 2023, with artificial intelligence, life sciences, and manufacturing contributing to development.

By Anne Cosgrove
From the March/April 2024 Issue


In its 2023 Annual Report, Choose New Jersey marked a year of historic expansion for the organization. The state’s leading non-profit business attraction organization assisted nearly 40 companies in relocating or expanding to the Garden State last year, resulting in more than 5,000 new and retained jobs with an economic impact of $2.3 billion.

“Choose New Jersey’s steadfast commitment has been instrumental in fostering the economic success of the State in 2023,” said Governor Phil Murphy.

With an eye on the global economy, a mission to East Asia alongside Gov. Murphy in October 2023 was the most expansive mission to date for both Choose New Jersey and the Murphy Administration. Approximately 60 leaders from government, businesses, universities, and economic development organizations joined the delegation on the mission to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The mission resulted in over 1,000 new and strengthened relationships, including over 25 business agreements, academic collaborations, research partnerships, and MOUs and the announcement of the opening of the New Jersey Asia-Pacific Center in Taipei City, Taiwan, in 2024.

“Our economic missions to East Asia, Israel, India, and Ireland this year demonstrate our commitment to bringing the global community to our doorstep, with New Jersey serving as the perfect gateway for businesses looking to expand to the United States,” said Wesley Mathews, President & CEO of Choose New Jersey.

New Jersey Economic Growth
Rendering of the Nokia Bell Labs state-of-the-art research and development facility in New Brunswick, NJ. This facility is part of the HELIX complex under construction in the Middlesex County location. (Photo: Nokia)


“This has truly been a transformative year for Choose New Jersey,” said Ralph LaRossa, Chairman of Choose New Jersey and Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of PSEG. “Choose New Jersey extended its international footprint, enhanced the team and Board, and attracted the highest level of grant funding in the organization’s history. The team’s tireless efforts ensured that the organization remains a driving force in the New Jersey economy, contributing substantially to the prosperity of the state and fostering a climate of advancement.”

Tech Is On Top In The Garden State

In December, Nokia announced it will relocate its campus in Murray Hill, NJ to a new state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facility in New Brunswick, NJ. The company expects to move into the newly constructed facility in Middlesex County in 2028.

The industrial research arm of Nokia, Nokia Bell Labs has delivered breakthroughs including the world’s first transistor and solar cell and the birth of cellular and satellite communications.

Nishant Batra, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at Nokia, said, “Our Murray Hill campus has been home to iconic Nokia Bell Labs innovation for over 80 years. As we look toward the future of Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs in the region, we will take with us all that makes us exceptional – our vision, brainpower, culture of disruptive innovation, and technical prowess – and marry that legacy with a modern research and development facility that is built to our needs. Ultimately, we want a facility that feels right for the next 100 years of Nokia Bell Labs.”

New Jersey Economic Growth
(Graphic: Created by Business Facilities – Source: Choose New Jersey 2023 Annual Report)

This move will enable Nokia Bell Labs research teams to collaborate in a tightly knit, dynamic campus to develop disruptive technologies in areas including quantum, photonics, optical research, 6G, AI and industrial automation.

The Nokia facility is located in the New Jersey Health and Life Science Exchange (HELIX), currently under development in New Brunswick. Middlesex County, through the Improvement Authority, is providing the financing mechanism for nearly $500 million to construct the first phase of the HELIX, a 573,400-square-foot multipurpose facility that will house the NJ Innovation Hub, a unique creator’s space for start-up businesses as well as research labs for Rutgers University. The HELIX will also house the command center for DataCity, the county’s living laboratory for autonomous technology. DataCity is part of the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), a project that will use the New Brunswick streets and highways as a living lab to tackle complex, high-volume infrastructure challenges.

Phase 2 of the HELIX project, announced in May 2023, will include 600,000 square feet of build-to-suit lab and office space that can accommodate a range of uses for large corporate life sciences and technology company tenants. The final phase of HELIX is proposed as a 42-story mixed-use building to include additional office space and 220 units of housing.

Ronald G. Rios, Middlesex County Commissioner Director, said, “Middlesex County has been on a journey to cultivate a sustainable economic ecosystem through strategic public and private partnerships. We’re excited to welcome Nokia as the newest tenant of the HELIX, joining a roster of distinguished organizations who prioritize education and value a robust talent pipeline that uniquely exists in our County.”

In the southern region of the state, proximity to the eastern seaboard and beyond is coupled with available land, skilled workforce, and leading educational institutions. In Cumberland County, for example, the economic foundation was built on industry, particularly manufacturing. The county grew as a manufacturing center and a food, textile and glass production capital. The eight-county region of the Garden State, overseen by Southern New Jersey Development Council, is ripe for investment and growth.

An AI Hub For New Jersey

Late last year, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Princeton University announced a partnership to establish an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Hub to bring together AI researchers, industry leaders, startup companies, and other collaborators to advance R&D in the emerging field. The AI Hub will include dedicated accelerator space to advance the use of ethical AI, and promote workforce development to support new technology. It will work in collaboration with other New Jersey universities, community colleges, and vocational schools, as well as the private sector.

“The AI Hub will build upon the Garden State’s longstanding legacy in innovation and establish Central Jersey, already famed for its Route 1 ‘research corridor’, as a leading national base for AI activity.”

— Tim Sullivan, CEO, NJEDA 

The Princeton AI hub will be supported with $250,000 in planning funds from the NJEDA’s Strategic Innovation Center initiative, according to NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.

“AI has the power and potential to drive innovation, create jobs, and build long-term economic growth. Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey remains poised to capture the incredible momentum created by this emerging industry, which will enhance our state’s economic competitiveness for years to come,” said Sullivan. “The AI Hub will build upon the Garden State’s longstanding legacy in innovation and establish Central Jersey, already famed for its Route 1 ‘research corridor’, as a leading national base for AI activity. I look forward to our continued collaboration with Princeton University as we forge ahead in establishing New Jersey as a premier location for the creation of cutting-edge AI technologies and companies.”

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NJEDA’s announcement with Princeton joins a strategic suite of support for attracting and retaining AI companies in the state. The AI Hub is part of Gov. Murphy’s goal to make New Jersey a national leader in the AI field by drawing on the state’s strengths in the health, sustainability, financial, and technology sectors, which stand to benefit from the application of AI technologies.

One AI-focused company that has recently been approved for support under the NJEDA’s Angel Match Program that has found success in New Jersey is Summit-based AlphaRoc, which provides AI-driven, predictive insights into investment opportunities. The Angel Match Program was designed to disburse funding from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Check out all the latest news related to New Jersey economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.


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