The Economic Development Authority voted Thursday to approve the second-largest incentive package ever slated for Camden under the Economic Opportunity Act, highlighting a day that saw the approval of well over $300 million in tax credits for Grow New Jersey and Economic Redevelopment and Growth projects statewide.EMR Eastern LLC, a subsidiary of an international metal recycling company headquartered in the United Kingdom, received approval for a 10-year, $252.7 million Grow New Jersey award to establish a new “recovery, reuse and recycling” campus in Camden that would also feature a regional headquarters.
The project calls for the company to build seven new buildings and renovate an additional seven properties, all of which are located within a six-block contiguous area.
After acquiring Camden Iron & Metal in 2008, the company already has a presence within the state, employing 299 New Jersey-based workers, 201 of which are currently based in Camden. Across the globe, EMR maintains 170 facilities that employ some 4,500 workers.
According to the EDA, the company is also considering locating the project in New Orleans, where it also maintains some operating facilities. While EMR wouldn’t entirely pull out of New Jersey if it chooses not to locate the new project in Camden, the EDA estimates a total of 156 positions total statewide would be deemed at risk of leaving New Jersey.
However, just 62 of the 156 possibly retained positions are counting towards the project’s award eligibility, as they would be new to Camden and coming from other EMR facilities across the state.
Additionally, the project is estimated to create 285 new full-time positions with a median annual salary of approximately $52,000. Altogether, the EDA says the project would yield an estimated net benefit of $17.4 million back to the state over a 35-year period.
“The gross benefits of this project are, as you can imagine, very substantial,” said EDA President Tim Lizura.
According to New Jersey Policy Perspective, the approved incentive package for EMR would be “the most expensive New Jersey tax break ever awarded, on a per-job basis” as it would equate to $728,386 per-job.
“New Jersey’s political leaders continue to hand out goodies without paying for them, and despite the fact that these special tax deals don’t grow the state’s economy or create good jobs,” NJPP President Gordon MacInnes said. “We are years into this surge in tax subsidies of dubious value, yet we have nothing to show for it. Our economy is still limping along, and as long as we continue down this path, we’ll never restore New Jersey to the economic powerhouse it once was.”
The approval of $252.7 million in tax credits for EMR ranks as the city’s second-largest award under the Economic Opportunity Act, just behind the 10-year, $260 million Grow New Jersey award approved for Holtec International in July 2014.
“To the members of the board, I want to assure you that we are working very hard to transform Camden,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd. “The (Economic Opportunity Act) has been a large part of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the city.”
“We are turning a corner, and we are seeing a new day in the city of the Camden,” Redd added.