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Why it stayed: Panasonic's decision was about more than tax incentives

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The new Panasonic building in Newark certainly has a room with a view.
The new Panasonic building in Newark certainly has a room with a view. - ()

Even in the case of Panasonic, which received a well-documented $102.4 million tax credit in 2011 to relocate its North American headquarters to Newark from Secaucus, incentives aren't always enough to keep a company in New Jersey.

And this is from a company that stayed.

Last year, Panasonic settled into its downtown location at Two Riverfront Plaza, a short walk from Newark Penn Station.

The convenience of having direct access to New York City and its talent pool was a selling point in itself, says Mike Riccio, chief financial officer and treasurer for Panasonic Corp. of North America.

“I couldn’t think of a better location,” Riccio says.

With roughly 1,000 employees in Secaucus at the time of the move, the company would have really needed a good reason to leave the state, Riccio said, because a move of great distance could have been proven to be “disruptive.”

RELATED: New Jersey has educated workers, quality transportation options, and, of course, those big-ticket tax incentives, so … why are they leaving?

In addition to that, Riccio said the Garden State has just always felt like home for the company.

“We’ve been in New Jersey for quite a long time and we’ve developed a lot of roots here, so to speak,” Riccio said.

Being a part of Newark’s revitalization and reducing the company’s carbon footprint were also factors in the decision, Riccio said.

New Jersey certainly is a high-cost state and carries the stigma that it “may not be as pro-business as others,” but when all factors are put into perspective, Riccio said it “does offer a lot.”

“It depends what you’re looking for,” Riccio said. “If you’re looking for a low-cost operation and you don’t need specific types of talent, maybe then New Jersey isn’t the place for you. But (with) the type of talent pool that you want, I think New Jersey … you really have to give it a second look.”

And then there were those incentives, again.

“That was kind of the icing on the cake,” Riccio said.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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