American Water Works, a Voorhees-based national water utility, received approval Tuesday from the state Economic Development Authority for a 10-year, $164 million Grow New Jersey award to build a new 250,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Camden.The proposed facility would consolidate corporate staff currently housed in five separate locations in nearby Mount Laurel, Haddon Heights, Cherry Hill and Voorhees.
The company has also been considering an alternative site in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.
According to the EDA, the proposed Camden project, located within the Campbell Gateway District, would retain 596 jobs in New Jersey and create an additional 100 new positions. Over a 35-year period, the EDA estimates the project will yield a net benefit back to the state of $130.6 million.
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Tuesday’s meeting, held in Camden, was attended by the city’s mayor, Dana Redd, who said that the Economic Opportunity Act “gives the state of New Jersey the competitive edge in a market where we’re sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia.”
Since the passage of the law in 2013, the city has seen a number of projects steered its way with its attractive tax incentive offerings. Several of those projects, such as those involving Subaru and Holtec, similarly involved companies moving to Camden from a nearby suburb.
Redd said that if American Water chooses Camden, it will undoubtedly bring another “world-class” project to the mix.
“It’s a great day for Camden,” Redd said.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of today’s board meeting,” an American Water spokesperson said. “This has been a very competitive application process and I want to thank the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for approving our application and for their vote of confidence in the value American Water brings to the city of Camden and the state of New Jersey. We are excited about the prospect of consolidating our corporate offices into one headquarters, and this is an important step in our decision-making process.”
With the project just one of a full bill of incentives approved Tuesday, Gordon MacInnes of think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective questioned the overall strategy.
“Over the past five and a half years, New Jersey has placed all its eggs in the tax-subsidy basket, yet our economy has little to show for it,” MacInnes said. “That’s no surprise, since these tax breaks often only subsidize moves corporations would have made anyway, and since so many of them have gone to companies simply shuffling jobs around New Jersey.”
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