The Economic Development Authority voted Monday to approve a 10-year, $107 million Grow New Jersey incentive award for defense contractor Lockheed Martin to create two “fully integrated laboratory facilities” in the existing L-3 Communications building in Camden.The project, which will require a $146.3 million capital investment from Lockheed, will involve the relocation of 250 current New Jersey-based jobs to the site from its Moorestown location. Lockheed also has a location in Cherry Hill.
Keith Little, Lockheed’s senior manager for media relations and public affairs, said the company will look to open the newly leased facility in 2015.
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“This exciting opportunity will allow us to capitalize on our core technologies and bring new solutions to our customers,” Little said in an email. “We are proud of our strong presence in New Jersey and look forward to contributing to the Camden community.”
According to the EDA, the project would yield a net benefit to the state of $248,797 over a 35-year period.
“This is really critical to Lockheed’s long-term growth in New Jersey,” EDA President Tim Lizura said Monday.
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The project was initially slated to appear on last month’s board agenda, but was pulled before the meeting. The EDA said at the time that additional materials were needed to move forward.
The alternative to the Camden project is a reduction in the company’s New Jersey staff “due to increased competition in the defense industry,” according to the board’s agenda.
In presenting the project to the board Monday, Lizura noted that Lockheed already has a Legacy Grow New Jersey tax credit on the books for the retention of 1,000 jobs at its Moorestown facility. In order to remain compliant with the terms of that agreement, the company must maintain a total of 4,308 jobs in the state. According to Lizura, Lockheed currently has 156 more state-based employees than it needs to meet the agreement’s minimum threshold, so a large portion of the 250 positions heading to Camden are deemed to be “at risk.”
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The incentive follows other high-profile awards approved for Camden-based projects earlier this year. In July, the board approved a $260 million award for energy industry manufacturer Holtec International to build a new facility on the waterfront and followed it with the approval of an $82 million award in August for the Philadelphia 76ers to construct a new practice facility and team headquarters.
Lockheed wasn’t the only project on the docket for Camden on Monday. The board also voted to approve a 10-year, $7.45 million Grow New Jersey incentive award for Bethesda, Maryland-based molecular diagnostics company DioGenix Inc. to relocate to Camden and lease 15,700 square feet of space to house its new facility. According to the EDA, the project would bring 71 new jobs to New Jersey and yield a net benefit of $20 million back to the state over 35 years.
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In a statement released Monday after the meeting, New Jersey Policy Perspective President Gordon MacInnes said the Lockheed award highlights the “insanity of New Jersey’s economic development efforts.”
“Like the high-profile tax breaks to Holtec International and the Philadelphia 76ers, this deal shows the need for substantial revisions to last year’s Economic Opportunity Act,” MacInnes said. “Lawmakers concerned about the one-sided awards that benefit business at the expense of taxpayers and that threaten future budgets with sharp reductions in corporate taxes should consider revising the net benefits test to balance business and taxpayer interests, instituting spending caps and mandating more transparency and reporting by the EDA. Those three actions would be a good start towards fixing the mess that New Jersey has created.”
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