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Grapevine: Go Goya? No, stay. A weaker Opportunity

Go Goya? No, stay
Goya Foods Inc. has set its sights on a County Road industrial park in Jersey City to build its new distribution center, Grapevine has learned, allowing the food company to keep its existing operation in nearby Secaucus after considering a move out of the suburb, or even out of New Jersey.

Sources said the company has applied for Urban Transit Hub tax credits to build on the 40-acre site, which is owned by Rockefeller Group Development Corp. Goya is seeking an incentive package worth between $70 million and $100 million; the EDA is scheduled to hear the application this week.

The Rockefeller Group property is along the Allied Junction freight line, which will be used for the distribution operation. Had Goya been unable to find a site eligible for the tax credit program, the source said, "the entire Goya headquarters operation would have been at risk of moving to another transit hub community — or worse, to New York."

The source also said the expansion will result in hundreds of jobs moving to Secaucus and Jersey City facilities from New York.

Concerns that Goya would leave Secaucus were aggravated by the impending departure of Panasonic Corp. of North America, which plans to move its headquarters in 2013 to a new office tower in Newark. The company will receive $102.4 million in Urban Transit Hub tax credits.

A weaker Opportunity
With Chris Christie making education reform the focus of his efforts in the lame-duck session this fall, one item on his agenda may face a particularly difficult hearing, according to a business lobbyist: the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

The OSA, frequently called the voucher bill, has been a grail for parochial and other private school advocates for more than a decade, and until recent weeks appeared to be gaining traction. However, it faces a difficult climb while legislators weigh other far-reaching items supported by Christie, including making tenure more difficult to obtain and using student test scores in determining teacher pay. That may be why voucher advocates were arguing that a recent measure allowing private schools to convert into charter schools isn't enough.

The vouchers would be funded by donations by corporations to nonprofits that would distribute the funds to schools. The donations would be offset by tax credits.

Royal flavor
Danish royalty is headed to New Jersey.

Grapevine has learned the crown prince and princess of Denmark will visit Leo Pharma Inc., in Parsippany, on Oct. 21. The company is the U.S. affiliate of Danish drugmaker Leo Pharma A/S.

The royals will attend an event designed to raise awareness about skin cancer to promote business ties between the United States and Denmark. They'll also help cut the ribbon on Leo's expanded offices. They will be joined by Denmark's Minister of Health.

Top Pryority
The city hasn't made an announcement on who will replace Stefan Pryor as deputy mayor of Newark, but speculation among interested parties is that Adam Zipkin, who's taken on Pryor's duties on an acting basis, will be tapped to fill the role.

In a meeting of the Newark Alliance board two weeks ago, Pryor was making a presentation by phone, "and then he (Zipkin) took over," a source said. "Everyone at the table assumed this was the guy."

For Zipkin, acting director of the Department of Economic and Housing Development, snagging the post "would be a really great story for him — a dream job," the source said, noting his deep roots in Newark.

Start the presses
In a time where newspapers are considered as dead as the trees they're made from, one publisher is set to launch a new paper that will be available five days a week.

Garden State Journal plans to publish its first edition Nov. 15, and promises to "provide both substantial conservative and liberal viewpoints" that its publisher, filmmaker and attorney Kenneth Del Vecchio, says aren't available in the state's other papers. Tech-savvy liberals make up most online news traffic, he said. The audience he says he's aiming at, "conservatives and Republicans, they pick up the paper every day."

Del Vecchio's said his circulation area will be North Jersey, because that's where his offices are, and the paper's editor said he's not aiming to take down The Record, but an insider said it's no coincidence the paper is based in Hackensack — it's taking aim at North Jersey Media Group.

"It's right wing — forget conservative — right-wing driven content," the source said.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at swaters@njbiz.com.

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