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Secaucus withdraws Panasonic lawsuit, removes final stumbling block for move to Newark

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Artists rendering of Panasonic's Newark headquarters.
Artists rendering of Panasonic's Newark headquarters.

Secaucus is withdrawing its lawsuit against the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's attempt to block the move of Panasonic Corp.'s North American operations from the town to Newark.

The decision by town officials removes the last potential stumbling block to the move, with current Panasonic landlord Hartz Mountain Industries dropping its lawsuit Monday.

"We never wanted to fight with the EDA," Secaucus town administrator David Drumeler said, adding that the town has been working with the EDA to craft legislation that would even the playing field in intrastate corporate moves.

"Sometimes there are some unintended consequences" from state incentives, Drumeler said.

Drumeler said legislation that is being drafted, including a measure sponsored by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-West Deptford), would address Secaucus' concerns. In addition, this legislation could add an incentive that would help fill the void left by Panasonic.

Secaucus is working with Hartz Mountain to fill the space, Drumeler said.

Secaucus's move drew praise from officials in Newark, who were pleased the field is now clear for the Panasonic move to advance.

"We're pleased that this legal hurdle has been cleared and, as a result, this critical project for our city and state can proceed," said Stefan Pryor, deputy mayor for economic development in Newark Mayor Cory Booker's administration. "Full steam ahead for Newark's first new office tower in almost two decades."

Panasonic is set to receive $102.4 million in Urban Transit Hub tax credits to occupy 250,000 square feet of the 410,000 square-foot building being developed by Matrix Development Group and SJP Properties at 2 Riverfront Center.

EDA approved another Urban Transit Hub tax credit on Wednesday to allow Pearson Inc. to receive up to $82.5 million. Most of the workers in the deal would move from Upper Saddle River to a location in Hoboken. Drumeler declined to comment on the intrastate move, saying it is inappropriate to compare the situations without having more information.

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