Business & Finance

New Amazon HQ? Why Not New Brunswick?

Rendering for potential Amazon HQ2 at The Hub @ New Brunswick. Credits: New Brunswick Development Corporation.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Middlesex County, New Brunswick and Rutgers University officials are eyeing the Hub City and surrounding area as a potential spot for Amazon’s “HQ2,”an East Coast headquarters, that would employ as many as 50,000 people  

The online retail giant, which is headquartered in Seattle, announced its plans earlier this month to pump $5 billion into the project, and is seeking proposals from interested cities by Oct. 19. 

“Middlesex County has everything that Amazon is seeking, and we are working with our partners to put the strongest possible proposal together to bring Amazon to our community,” Middlesex County Freeholder Ronald Rios said in a statement. 

Sign Up for E-News

“Why? This could mean 50,000 new, full-time jobs. It will boost the local and regional economies,” Rios said “It will raise the quality of life of all our residents and enhance our already strong business environment.”

Chris Paladino, president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), suggested putting HQ2 in The Hub @ New Brunswick Station, a 1.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use redevelopment project at the former site of the Ferren Mall on Albany Street. 

“New Brunswick is the clear choice of NJ,” Paladino said. "Mass transportation, Rutgers engineering and business school graduates, a walkable city, restaurants, theater district and an engaged, supportive local and county government.” 

DEVCO will be working with Rutgers University and Middlesex County officials to put together a proposal that meets all of Amazon’s criteria. 

Among those criteria in Amazon’s request for proposals are a “metropolitan area with more than a million people, a stable and attractive business-friendly environment and urban and suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain talent.” 

A potential HQ2 should be between 500,000 and 8 million square feet, reads the RFP. Among the preferences in the RFP, the HQ2 site should be an urban or downtown campus, a layout similar to that in Seattle and that the location is a development-prepped site. 

“We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline,” reads the RFP. 

In addition to The Hub, the New Brunswick proposal would also utilize Rutgers’ Innovation Center in Piscataway and the tech park on the northbound side of Route 1 in North Brunswick, Paladino said. 

Middlesex County already has several large Amazon fulfillment centers, including in Avenel and Carteret, with others set to open in Edison and Cranbury.

City, university and county officials are also working with the NJ Economic Development Authority’s “Grow New Jersey Program,” Paladino added. 

Grow NJ, comprised of the EDA, Choose NJ, the Business Action Center and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, is primarily behind the effort to attract the HQ2. 

The consortium is seeking proposals from cities and towns across all 21 counties, after which it will submit what it believes is the strongest possible proposal. 

An editorial by NJBiz wrote that many of New Jersey’s cities, including Jersey City, New Brunswick and Newark “all say they have what it takes - and they do.” The editorial also listed Atlantic City and Camden as strong contenders.

To draw in potential businesses to the state, the EDA offers an array of tax credits, including $20 to $120 per square foot, base awards ranging for $500 to $5,000 per job, per year, for up to 10 years, and bonus awards of between $250 and $3,000 per employee per year, based on factors such as location, industry, salary levels and number of jobs. 

Gordon MacInnes, president of NJ Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank based in Trenton, cast doubt on the effectiveness of tax breaks. 

“The notion that the tax break by itself determines the decision of the corporation as to where they’re going to move, I think that’s a false assumption,” MacInnes said, and that other factors are more important.

Companies might moved to the state because of its proximity to New York City and Newark Liberty International Airport, a highly educated workforce and “great towns and public schools,” MacInnes said.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

It's Always About Affordability

October 13, 2017

Maintaining Affordability means: Controlling costs. Managing resources. Evaluating alternatives.  Planning for contingencies. Comparing wants versus needs.  

These are critical aspects for anyone responsible for running a business or a governmental unit, and it is within these areas that my experience will be an asset to the Township Council and the community.

For almost 30 years, ...

Few Would Consent to Spending Plan

During last night’s Town Council meeting, the Berkeley Heights Town Council voted to approve $30.9 million in debt, which is about $5,100 per average household in Berkeley Heights. This debt is all related to the new Municipal Building project.    

There are very few people in Berkeley Heights who would consent voluntarily to write a check to the town for this ...

No More Politics as Usual

A first-time candidate running to serve in the General Assembly for the 21st District, I am, quite simply, tired of politics as usual. I believe that with the right leadership, New Jersey can be a beacon of hope amidst a volatile political and economic landscape.

Born and raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, I eventually settled in ...

Letter to Editor: Apology for Charity Halloween Party Incident

October 17, 2017

Letter to the Editor,

Last Friday night I attended a Charity Halloween Costume Event at Mt. Carmel Hall dressed as Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback who has recently been in the news for 'taking a knee' in protest during the National Anthem.  I want to confirm that I had no intention of offending anyone with my choice in costume.  I am a husband, a father, a brother, ...

A Call for All Library Supporters to Vote "Yes" on Nov. 7

Dear Editor:

As a New Jersey resident and strong supporter of our local library, I urge all New Jersey citizens to vote “YES” on Tuesday, November 7 for the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, supporting libraries across NJ. 

Libraries are increasingly becoming the social hubs of our communities.This act  authorizes New Jersey to issue ...

Kingsley and Sincaglia Receive Broad Support

October 17, 2017

Kingsley and Sincaglia Receive Broad Support

Over a hundred gathered in support of Town Council candidates Jeanne Kingsley and John Sincaglia. “In Berkeley Heights, we are all neighbors seeking to work together to continue the forward progress of our community.  It is always an honor to have the opportunity to share ideas for our collective vision of a positive and vibrant ...

​Summit Area YMCA Honors Veterans with Free 1 Week Membership, Breakfast & More

The Summit Area YMCA is proud to announce that veterans and their families will be able to enjoy a free week of membership at both the Berkeley Heights YMCA and Summit YMCA branches during the week of November 5 through November 11. As one of the area’s leading non-profit charitable organizations, its mission and cause has been to provide quality programs to strengthen the community by ...

Fourth Annual Union County Day of Prayer Scheduled for Oct. 24 in Westfield

In the challenging time of racial and religious intolerance as displayed in Charlottesville, fevered anti-immigrant xenophobia and political discord of historic extremes there comes the balance of a nation pulling together to support the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

With this backdrop the Fourth Annual Union County "Day of Prayer and Reflection: Unifying Our Community ...

Scarecrows are Back – Vote Today!

The New Providence Scarecrow Stroll and Contest, sponsored by the New Providence Business Community, is back! Everyone is invited to stroll through downtown New Providence to visit all the scarecrows and choose their favorite.  Anyone can vote in a store or shop that has a scarecrow "VOTE HERE" sign in their window.  Voting continues through November 1 (one vote per person).

Grand National at Far Hills Races Will Be International Affaire

October 13, 2017

GRAND NATIONAL TAKES ON INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR

The $400,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), America’s richest steeplechase race, has attracted strong international interest, with no fewer than five overseas challengers among 12 nominees to the centerpiece of the 97th annual Far Hills Races on Saturday, Oct. 21.

One of New Jersey’s premier sporting events, the Far Hills Races will be one ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, October 18, 7:30 PM

Central Presbyterian Church Auditorium , Summit

Free Community Forum: Ecology & Economy Can NJ ...

Education Green

Thu, October 19, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Retired & Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Information ...

Giving Back Other

Thu, October 19, 7:00 PM

St. Teresa of Avila RC Church-Avila Room, Summit

Citizenship Preparation Classes

Education

Thu, October 19, 7:00 PM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Third Thursday Movie Night: "After the Storm"

Arts & Entertainment

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your questions to advice@skindeepsalonspa.com.

 

__________

Dear Susan: I am interested in ...

“It’s Greek to Me!” – Understanding Your Investment Statements

Note: Recently I gave a seminar on “It’s Greek to Me!” – Understanding Your Investment Statements at the Bernards Township Library in Basking Ridge, NJ. Here are a few of the items I touched on.

When you look at your monthly investment statement, do you think “this looks like Greek to me”? Do you ignore all but the first page, after checking to see how much ...