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First $110M of Grow New Jersey tax credits receive EDA backing

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A retail headquarters, defense contractor facility, wine company office and distribution center, and a pharmaceutical research and development facility were the first four applicants approved for tax credits under a new state program.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority board today approved a total of $110 million in tax credits under Grow New Jersey, which is targeted toward businesses that are both investing money in the state and either adding or retaining 100 jobs.

The recipients were: Lockheed Martin Corp., which would receive $40 million to invest $40 million and retain 1,000 jobs in Moorestown if it's awarded a defense contract for the Aegis Combat System; Ascena Retail Group Inc., which would receive $32.4 million if it moves Dress Barn's corporate headquarters to Mahwah, bringing 405 jobs; Royal Wine Corp. and affiliated company Kenover Marketing Corp., which would receive $22.9 million to consolidate its facilities in Bayonne, bringing 143 jobs from New York and retaining 184 positions; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., which would receive $15.1 million to locate a research and development facility in Florham Park, adding 215 jobs.

Grow New Jersey was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in January, and "here we are three months later, and we have four great projects," said agency CEO Caren S. Franzini. She noted the recipients are committed to remaining in the state for 15 years, five years more than the time period in which they receive the tax credits. Like other large incentive programs, companies only receive the tax credits once they have opened their facilities, she said.

In other action, the EDA board agreed to issue bonds on behalf of a company, to be selected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to build a replacement to the Goethals Bridge. The project's estimated cost is $1.56 billion. The approval was needed as part of the authority's application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for funding for the process.

The board also approved a $10.8 million Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant to Mt. Laurel Development LLC to build retail buildings at a site in Mount Laurel. It also increased the Urban Transit Hub tax credit for Boraie Development's 36-54 Rector Street LLC from $13.4 million to $20.7 million. The company has changed the Newark development from condominiums to rental apartments, and increased the number of units.

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