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Roche reaches deals to keep property tax payments level for two years

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The pending closure of Roche's 83-year-old campus in Nutley and Clifton will be a major blow to the community no matter what, but the company said today is it working to eliminate the near-term tax impact of the shutdown, giving the municipalities some fiscal stability for the next two years.

The drugmaker said today it had reached a voluntary agreement with Nutley under which the company would postpone the demolition of one building planned for this year, and forestall any other demolitions in the near-term. The company also said it would give up a sewer credit, and negotiate a credit to the township for a five-year tax abatement that was granted to Roche. The net result is that Roche's property tax payments to Nutley will remain stable, at about $9.4 million in 2012 and $10 million in 2013, even as the company's presence shrinks in preparation for the closure.

Darien Wilson, a company spokeswoman, said Roche has separately reached a deal with Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi to maintain the company’s Clifton property taxes for the next two years. Roche plans to completely close the site by the end of 2013 and eliminate 1,000 jobs.

Tom Lyon, vice president and Nutley site head for Roche, said the deal provides stability for the community and buys the parties time as they search for a buyer for the site.

“The closure news has been devastating for our employees as well as the communities around us,” he said, in a press release. “Roche has been here a long time, and the company is committed to being as good a neighbor in leaving as we have been for the past 80-plus years.”

Discussions are also under way to create a joint commission to assist in the transition. The commission will be made up of the two mayors, representatives from Roche and possibly the state. Wilson said the mayors will take the helm of the commission and formulate its goals and strategy. Roche will play a supporting role, but has agreed to a request from Nutley to consider funding an external consultant to aid the commission.

Meanwhile, even as it ties up its business in Nutley and Clifton, Roche is nearing a decision on the location of its new translational clinical research center. The company still hopes to make a formal announcement on the location by the end of the month, Wilson said. She said they are considering several key locations in the New Jersey/New York region, though she said a final decision has yet to be made. Approximately 240 of the Nutley jobs will be transferred to the new center.



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