Panasonic Corp. is close to inking a deal to open a new facility in Harrison, barely a mile from its future headquarters in downtown Newark, Grapevine has learned.
Plans for the facility, a roughly 50,000-square-foot technology center, are slated to go before the Harrison planning board May 29, according to multiple sources. The build-to-suit project would be a joint venture between Advance Realty, which owns the property in Harrison's Riverbend District, and Russo Development, which would serve as the builder.
The deal would be another piece of good news for Harrison, the tired, riverside industrial town that has long sought to transform itself into a transit-oriented urban hub. The effort has started to gain steam after more than a decade of delays, thanks to the success of several new apartment projects and plans to replace the town's 76-year-old PATH station.
The new technology and research and development center also would strengthen Panasonic's presence around downtown Newark, which sits just across the Passaic River from Harrison. Construction recently began at the site of the electronics giant's new 12-story headquarters at Raymond Boulevard and McCarter Highway, where it plans to move from Secaucus.
A source also notes Panasonic has deep ties to the nearby Red Bull Arena, in Harrison. The company in October renewed a multiyear sponsorship with Major League Soccer, and is the maker of scoreboard and video displays inside the stadium.
RIP for HHI?
Is Horizon HealthCare Innovations about to become a thing of the past?
A source says it's no secret that Horizon CEO Bob Marino is trying to put his imprint solidly on the company, and re-Marino it from his predecessor, Bill Marino, of no relation. The sudden departure of Richard Popiel as HHI's chief executive could point to an end of HHI itself, according to speculation in the industry. If so, in ending HHI, Bob Marino's action would not be unprecedented, as early in his tenure, he abandoned Bill Marino's top priority — taking Horizon public.
Horizon said it will continue the "groundbreaking work" of HHI under the direction of Jim Albano, vice president of Healthcare Services: "Horizon BCBSNJ was the first health insurance company in New Jersey to put patient-centered medical homes into operation, and early data suggests they are working to improve care and contain costs. Changes to the reporting structure of HHI were made to increase efficiencies for the next phase of its important work in transforming how health care is delivered in New Jersey. Horizon BCBSNJ remains committed to this important work."
Explosion over pipeline
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week approved a controversial natural gas pipeline extension that will transport natural gas through Jersey City and into Manhattan. In doing so, they foiled months of protest from Jersey City's mayor, including a last-minute attempt to change the regulations governing pipelines.
Seven miles of Spectra Energy's planned pipeline would go through Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy's city. After months of vocal opposition, the city last month tried to delay FERC's decision by asking another federal regulator — the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — to change the rules regarding pipelines to make them more sensitive to population density. According to public filings, the city then asked FERC to withhold its decision until the other agency ruled on the city's rule-change request. Both the city of New York and the state's Public Services Commission shot back, urging FERC not to delay and to make a decision at its May meeting. FERC complied, and OK'd the project despite the rule-change petition. For its part, PHMSA has yet to act on Jersey City's petition.
Still seeking suitor
A source told Grapevine that, with the closing of St. Clare's Sussex as an acute-care hospital, and Newton Hospital being acquired by Atlantic Health, Chilton Hospital can expect interest from large provider groups.
The source said the potential increase in market share for Chilton makes it an attractive partner for larger systems looking to expand, adding that the candidates for aligning with Chilton have been narrowed, and the hospital is soliciting offers.
Chilton spokeswoman Anna Scolara told NJBIZ in February that the hospital was looking for potential partners. Scolara said there have been no updates since then, and the hospital would not likely be releasing any additional information until fall.
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org.