Grapevine: Not closing the Gateway, plugged in
Not closing the Gateway
Prudential's three landlords in Newark's Gateway complex have been quiet in recent weeks, even when the insurance giant recently filed an amendment to its Urban Transit Hub tax credit application for a new office tower. But that doesn't mean the building owners are backing down from their legal challenge of the $250.8 million award.
"They will go all the way to the mat on this," a Newark insider told Grapevine recently, noting that the three landlords "stand to be wiped out" if Prudential vacates its existing space in the Gateway towers.
The landlords in January filed an appeal to block the tax credit that was awarded to Prudential late last year by the Economic Development Authority. In an amendment submitted March 14, the insurance giant is now proposing to build a $444 million office tower on Broad Street near Military Park.
But that means the firm would vacate more than 900,000 square feet at Gateway, where its leases expire in 2014, according to the lawsuit. The appeal is the second major legal challenge to an Urban Transit Hub award, following a suit prompted by Panasonic's planned move to Newark.
Hartz Mountain Industries, the appellant and Panasonic's current landlord, ultimately dropped the suit. But the Newark insider said that won't be the case with the Gateway owners.
"This is not another Panasonic situation, where these guys are playing poker just to extract some revised legislation out of the Statehouse," the source said.
A source has told Grapevine that Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, will announce March 27 a public-private partnership with IBM to support new programs for large-scale data processing.
According to the source, the addition of "high-performance computing resources" to the university will not only allow for new educational opportunities for students, in the form of a new institute, but also serve as a resource for New Jersey industry.
The school has reportedly been recruiting "leading New Jersey corporations" to get involved with the new data program in order to best form the new institution for the needs of Garden State businesses.
The collaboration with IBM is a long-term partnership and reportedly involves multiple stages of investment of resources.
The ABCs of LSRP
The state recently issued details about the upcoming licensing exam for its Licensed Site Remediation Professional program. And like any good test, there is a prep course.
That caused one observer to scratch his head, saying it would be "a little bit odd" if a practicing environmental consultant had to brush up before taking the exam.
"This isn't like we're in high school and we're taking the SATs, and my SAT score means the difference between getting into Rutgers versus Harvard," said the observer, who later added, "If you don't know your stuff by now, and if you don't know it cold, you have no business taking that exam, in my opinion."
A prep course is being offered by the state Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association, one of the main stakeholder groups in the state's plan to put thousands of polluted sites under the care of licensed private-sector consultants.
The first exam is scheduled for May, the DEP said recently. The LSRP association website notes that the prep course "does not guarantee a passing grade on the permanent licensing exam," nor does the group have ties to the Caviart Group, the consulting firm that's administering the test.
Closing the Facebook on Web
Maybe pharma and social media can't be friends after all.
Last May, Facebook said it would no longer allow drug companies to disable comments on their Facebook pages. That caused concern in some corners of the pharma industry, as drug companies feared their pages would be overtaken by comments that could land them in regulatory hot water.
Johnson & Johnson held fast, keeping a firm presence on Facebook. But last week, the company announced it would shutter a psoriasis-focused Facebook page aimed at the European market. The company said too many commenters were mentioning products by name or talking about treatment efficacy, among other regulatory no-nos. J&J has to delete such comments to comply with industry regulations.
The company said in a Facebook post that the task was becoming overwhelming: "Since the page was launched nearly 18 months ago, we have found ourselves removing a larger and larger proportion of posts, stifling worthwhile discussions."
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org.