State Focus – New Jersey: Garden of Opportunity

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (right) at the opening last year of Amazon’s distribution center in Robbinsville. (Credit: Choose NJ)

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2015 Issue

What do Goya Foods, Amazon and Valeant Pharmaceuticals have in common? All three companies have invested millions of dollars to expand their New Jersey operations in 2015.

In April, Goya officially unveiled a new 600,000-square-foot state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and distribution center in Jersey City, as part of a $250-million investment at three New Jersey facilities.

Just a few weeks later, Amazon announced it would open a one million-square-foot fulfillment center in Carteret to add to the one it opened last year in Robbinsville. When the new fulfillment center opens, Amazon’s total footprint in the State will be 2.3 million square feet—the size of 43 football fields.

In late August, less than two years after Valeant Pharmaceuticals consolidated its U.S. operations and established its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, the company leased another 310,000 square feet in Bridgewater, doubling its footprint in the State.

Goya, Amazon and Valeant are among a growing number of companies that are recognizing that New Jersey offers a powerful combination of assets for business that makes it one of the best values in the Northeast.

New Jersey is a “brain trust” with a highly skilled and educated workforce that makes it easy to recruit top talent. In fact, the State has one of the most educated and skilled workforces in the nation.

Nearly 36 percent of New Jersey’s workforce has a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the 29 percent national average. More than 13 percent of the workforce has a graduate or professional degree, and New Jersey has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the world—more than 225,000 at last count.

That’s one reason why 14 of the top 20 biopharmaceutical companies in the world have major operations in New Jersey, and the State earned Business Facilities’ top ranking in Biotech Growth Potential in 2015. Companies like pharmaceutical giant Valeant, biopharmaceutical leaders like Celgene, and dozens of start-up biotech companies have come to appreciate how the State’s talent pool can help fuel their growth.

In fact, J. Michael Pearson, Chairman and CEO of Valeant cited New Jersey’s “wealth of talented and experienced individuals” as a key factor in the company’s decision to consolidate their operations in New Jersey and continue to expand in the State.

Goya Foods recently unveiled a new 600,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and distribution center in Jersey City. (Credit: Choose NJ)

Goya and Amazon are just two of the many powerhouse companies with distribution operations in New Jersey. Others include Destination Maternity, Williams-Sonoma, Barnes & Noble, Coca Cola, The Home Depot, IKEA, W.W. Grainger, Five Below, Toys R Us and Wakefern Food Corporation, among others.

The growing number of logistics and distribution centers in New Jersey is no accident—it’s strategic.

A distribution center in central New Jersey can serve more than 22 million consumers with nearly $1 trillion in income within a two-hour drive, making the area ideal for same-day deliveries.

New Jersey’s location in the heart of the U.S. Northeast corridor also gives companies strategic access to the world’s trade, financial and regulatory centers, including New York City and Washington D.C.

While location may be why many companies choose New Jersey, others are attracted by the state’s affordable real estate, which offers a good deal more space for the money than neighboring New York. Junior’s Cheesecake and Streit’s Matzo—manufacturers of quintessential New York products—both made the move to New Jersey this year, where affordable space for manufacturing and distribution facilities is widely available.


Home to more than 1,100 multi-national companies and 270 foreign company headquarters, New Jersey is truly connected to the world when it comes to doing business.

As one of the most diverse states in the country, New Jersey is a multicultural melting pot that welcomes international investment and entrepreneurs. That’s why the state is ranked #3 in the U.S. for integration into the global economy and the #5 state for incoming foreign direct investment.

New Jersey has five foreign trade zones and a world-class logistics and distribution infrastructure that offers unsurpassed access to national and international markets. In fact, New Jersey offers easy access via road, rail, air or sea to nearly any place on the planet.

For example, New Jersey boasts an unrivalled road and rail network with 2,800 miles of Interstates and highways and the nation’s highest railroad density, with two Class 1 railroads and 17 commuter rail lines.

In addition, Newark Liberty International Airport accommodates more than 35 million passengers and 700,000 tons of cargo each year, making it the 14th busiest airport in the nation. Business travelers can fly non-stop to more than 90 U.S. cities and 110 international destinations daily via Newark Liberty and nearby airports.

The third largest seaport in North America and the largest maritime cargo center on the East Coast, the Port of New York and New Jersey serves as a North American gateway for international freight and a leading hub for domestic cargo. To accommodate post-Panamax activity at Port Newark/Elizabeth, a $743.3 million rebuilding project to raise the clearance of the Bayonne Bridge is currently underway to accommodate larger ships coming from Asia to the East Coast after the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Whether it’s a highly educated workforce, a strategic location or an infrastructure that facilitates global access, New Jersey has all the assets necessary to help businesses grow.


Businesses willing to relocate to the Garden State will find one of the most fertile environments for growing new roots.

New Jersey offers a mix of financial incentives and assistance programs to help business locate, grow, and modernize their operations. Those who make a commitment to improve their energy efficiency are eligible for additional incentives through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP).

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program offers incentives for energy upgrades in both existing and newly constructed buildings. In fiscal year 2015, NJCEP received over 8,000 incentive applications and granted over $81 million to companies that have invested in their buildings, resulting in an estimated 362,105 MWh and 496,140 Dth in annual energy savings.

For small-to-midsized commercial and industrial facilities with less than 200 kW of peak electricity demand, the Direct Install program covers up to 70 percent of an energy-efficiency project’s cost. Larger buildings qualify for the Pay for Performance program for new construction, rehab or retrofit projects, with up to $2 million for each project, if the project reduces energy consumption by 15 percent or more.

In addition to the NJCEP programs, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) awards subsidies to projects that are targeted to help spur growth in under-developed areas of the state.

Panasonic’s North America headquarters in Newark, NJ, built in 2013, is an example of a company combining NJCEP and EDA incentives to make smart, energy-efficiency investments. The 12-story, $200 million office tower reduced building energy use to 15 percent below code through $918,000 worth of advanced equipment, qualifying the building for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and Platinum certifications.

The energy-efficiency features earned Panasonic more than $440,000 in incentives through the Pay for Performance program. In addition, the company received approximately $102 million through the EDA Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program for helping to revitalize the neighborhood surrounding Newark Penn Station.

Panasonic is saving an estimated $118,900 each year in energy costs, reducing the payback period for the project from seven to four years. Installed technologies include a heat recovery unit, daylight sensors, and cogeneration chillers that convert waste heat into cooling.

Newly constructed buildings are not the only places where energy efficiency investments make sense. Equipment more than 15 years old has often reached the end of its useful life. Replacing or upgrading aging equipment, introducing occupancy sensors, or making subtle adjustments such as relocating thermostats to more optimal locations, are all examples of profitable measures that the average office building can undertake.

A study by the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group estimates that more than $72 billion of profitable energy-efficiency investments remain untapped in U.S. commercial buildings. Advances in lighting technologies, for instance, have brought about fluorescent and LED fixtures that deliver quick paybacks often within two or three years, in addition to brighter and more productive workplaces.

Lighting technologies are often just the tip of the iceberg. Significant opportunities for savings can be found within heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, more than 40 percent of energy consumed in U.S. office buildings supplies HVAC equipment. Even a small reduction in energy use can result in major savings. Variable frequency drives, variable air volume systems, and heat recovery units, for example, are all mature and proven technologies, offered by established manufacturers.

To take advantage of all the Garden State has to offer, contact New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program at 866-NJSMART or


  1. It’s strategic location, especially for Amazon. They are building more fulfillment centers around US, and hiring so many people, though maybe they should focus more on fulfillment services. Distribution is everything.

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