After securing the approval for a 10-year, $16.8 million Grow New Jersey award from the Economic Development Authority in February, small business lending firm World Business Lenders has formally left Manhattan for New Jersey, cutting the ribbon Wednesday on its new corporate headquarters in Jersey City.
Atop the 33rd floor of 101 Hudson St. near Exchange Place, WBL’s new office features more than 35,000 square feet of space with panoramic views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline.
Founded in 2011 in New York, WBL offers branches nationwide, with locations in Georgia, California, Connecticut, Florida and Texas.
CEO Doug Naidus said the move will help the company realize some of the “bold ambitions” he has for its future.
“World Business Lenders is committed to enhancing the vitality and sustainability of small businesses across the country, and we are thrilled to contribute to the growth of Jersey City as a haven for commerce,” Naidus said. “By continuing to increase jobs, we are enthusiastic about growing our company while adding to the momentum of this tremendous city. We are delighted to call Jersey City our new home.”
As part of its relocation, WBL plans to bring 225 full-time jobs to Jersey City by the end of the year and says it is actively working with Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration to address the needs of local small businesses.
The company credits the EDA steering it across the river. At the time of the award approval, WBL was said to also be considering an alternative site in Queens.
“The end of our lease in Manhattan presented an opportunity to explore other options to accommodate our rapid growth,” said Naidus. “The Grow N.J. program helped to make moving to New Jersey possible. We are excited for the company’s next chapter here in this sophisticated, ideally-situated city.”
The EDA estimates that WBL’s relocation will yield a net benefit of over $85 million back to the state over 20 years.
“The Grow N.J. program was designed to help New Jersey compete with other locations that are attractive for businesses looking to expand or relocate,” EDA CEO Melissa Orsen said. “We are delighted to see WBL joining the ranks of companies that recognize all that New Jersey has to offer in terms of location and financial industry talent.”
With Manhattan clearly visible from the podium at Wednesday’s event, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) joked that Naidus had finally come to his senses regarding business location.
“I’m glad that he decided to come on the right side of the river,” Payne Jr. said, tongue-in-cheek. “The correct side of the river.”
Payne Jr. added that he felt it was important not to lose sight of the work WBL does, providing small businesses with the loans needed to operate, amidst the excitement of the ribbon cutting event.
“This business of lending really is what’s needed,” Payne Jr. said.
Fulop, in a statement, said WBL was “a great addition to our Jersey City business community.”
“Helping small businesses thrive has been one of the guiding priorities of my administration, which makes World Business Lenders’ relocation to Jersey City even more rewarding,” Fulop said. “Not only will this mean 225 new jobs for Jersey City, but we are also welcoming a company whose mission fits so well with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Earlier this month, Jersey City continued its strong record of securing EDA incentive approvals, as five potential city-based projects were approved for over $86 million in awards.
WBL’s award also isn’t the most recent approval for space at 101 Hudson St. In March, the EDA approved a 10-year, $8 million Grow New Jersey award for the United States Fire Insurance Company to also consider occupying over 35,000 square feet there.