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Honeywell plans to move its headquarters to Morris Plains

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After threatening to do so for years, it seems Honeywell International Inc. is leaving Morris Township after all.

But it isn't going far — the company announced today it has signed an agreement to purchase a new global headquarters not in Pennsylvania, but in next-door Morris Plains.

According to the announcement, the purchase agreement includes 40 acres of land, a 475,000-square-foot building complex and a parking garage purchased from Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc. The purchase is subject to approval of its application with the Economic Development Authority for a $40 million Grow New Jersey Assistance Program incentive; the company has refiled its application with the agency.

Honeywell expects the move to occur in 2015.

In June, the company applied for a tax credit under Grow New Jersey — on the heels of a state effort in 2010 to expand the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant nearly tenfold, to $13,500 in tax credits per job retained in the state, in a bid to keep Honeywell from leaving the state.

Honeywell President David Cote

The company later said the program wasn't lucrative enough, and rather than seek an award under BRRAG, applied for $40 million in Grow New Jersey assistance. The company, which employs more than 1,000 at the headquarters site, also had been in the midst of a battle with Morris Township over rezoning of the current property, at 101 Columbia Road. Honeywell said its sprawling corporate campus was only about half used, and was seeking a more efficient headquarters building.

In its announcement, the company said its decision to leave Morris Township was influenced by litigation filed by a group of neighbors, called the Citizens for Better Planning.

"We could no longer accept additional delays and uncertainty," said Rick Kriva, Honeywell vice president of global real estate. "The litigation has created a significant level of risk and uncertainty in the market, leaving us without a reliable and timely way to proceed in Morris Township."

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