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New Seton Hall, Hackensack medical school approved for nearly $17 million in incentives

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The former Roche campus sits on 119 acres in Nutley and Clifton.
The former Roche campus sits on 119 acres in Nutley and Clifton. - ()

The future medical school of Seton Hall University and the Hackensack University Health Network received approval Friday from the Economic Development Authority for a 10-year, $16.9 million Grow New Jersey award.

The joint venture, which will be housed on the now-vacant former Roche corporate campus in Nutley and Clifton, was first announced last January. In June, Seton Hall and Hackensack finalized the terms of their agreement, which calls for creating the first private medical school in the state.

According to the EDA, the $75 million project will create 271 full-time jobs and yield a net benefit of $67.6 million back to the state over a 20-year period. The EDA did not perform an out-of-state alternative cost analysis test like it does with most Grow New Jersey applications because the proposed medical school project is constrained to state borders.

When a Grow New Jersey project is technically located within the confines of two municipalities, the EDA picks the municipality with the more permissive zoning requirements to perform its analysis with. In this case, the EDA analyzed the requirements of Clifton, which is listed as a “distressed municipality” under the Economic Opportunity Act.

The eventual goal of the campus is hold about 500 medical students and faculty, in addition to roughly 1,500 students and faculty enrolled in the university’s nursing and health and medical sciences schools.

Upon signing their agreement in June, officials from Seton Hall and Hackensack University Health said they hope to bring in the first class by fall 2017. They said at the time that they had started the search for a dean and the process of finalizing their lease agreement.

The four-year med school would anchor the 119-acre site and be a critical step toward transforming the property, following Roche’s decision in 2012 to shut down its operations there after some 80 years in New Jersey. The operators are now in “in extensive negotiations” with Roche to lease 477,171 square feet at the site, which accounts for more than a third of the vacant commercial space there, according to an EDA memo.

In addition to the proposed medical school, the space would also house the existing Seton Hall University College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences.

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