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  #3381  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 4:39 PM
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Potentially very bad news for Camden:

Quote:
New Jersey Corporate Tax Incentives Task Force Says $500 Million in Awards May Be Ended

Report Finds Mismanagement, Raising Questions Over Real Estate Practice Used Across the US

A special task force issued a report blasting New Jersey's Economic Development Authority for favoring the city of Camden in handing out tax incentives to companies, an effort similar to initiatives in other states across the country that's important to the commercial real estate industry. The findings so far have identified more than $500 million in awards that may need to be terminated.

The 75-page report was made public Monday night about a half hour after Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson, sitting in Trenton, New Jersey, rendered a 90-minute oral decision declining to issue a temporary injunction to block its release. George Norcross III, who is active and powerful among Democrats, and four Camden, New Jersey-based companies -- his insurance firm Conner Strong & Buckelew, The Michaels Organization, Cooper University Health Care and the law firm Parker McCay -- had sought the restraining order, and several were mentioned in the task force report.

The investigative panel, convened by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy earlier this year, in its report took full aim at Norcross, his brother Philip Norcoss, who is the chief executive of Parker McCay, and Kevin Sheehan, a real estate lawyer with the firm, accusing them of helping to craft tax incentive legislation that would benefit them, their associated companies or their clients. Conner Strong & Buckelew alone received $86 million in tax breaks to relocate to Camden.

New Jersey's practice of offering companies incentives to do business in the state may be used around the country, but locally, it's under fire for accusations of mismanagement and potential fraud. New Jersey politics is also part of the backdrop of the investigation because Murphy and Norcross, though both Democrats, are still foes in state politics.

The report also found that the authority failed to flag patently false information from companies seeking tax breaks and gave special interests an upper hand in the city of Camden. In some ways, the findings confirm some of the reasons why tax incentive opponents disapprove of the programs.

The issue is politically sensitive in the Garden State, where state officials and leaders in the New Jersey's largest city, Newark, combined last year to offer online retailer Amazon about $7 billion in tax breaks, the biggest package of incentives offered by any of the 20 finalist competing cities across the country, to locate its second headquarters, known as HQ2, in Newark. New Jersey's effort was unsuccessful and officials around the United States have subsequently discussed whether offering such tax breaks is worth the effort to lure development.

The report also provides more color and detail about issues that were raised in January by the state Comptroller Office’s critical audit of the authority, which found the agency mismanaged and improperly monitored $11 billion in state tax incentives. The task force also said it plans "to recommend recapture of improperly credited taxpayer dollars" through "coordination with several areas of New Jersey State government, including the EDA, the Department of Taxation and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office."

The task force said it will connect companies willing to cooperate and disclose any potential noncompliance with the State Treasury for settlement. But first such companies must repay their tax incentive award, and the task force said it reserves the right to report any evidence of criminal misconduct to law enforcement authorities.

The state’s two tax incentives programs –- Grow New Jersey and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth programs -– expire June 30. State lawmakers want to temporarily extend them, but Murphy has said he won’t continue what he consider flawed programs. He had proposed legislation that would entirely overhaul the tax incentives.

George Norcross and the other plaintiffs had sought the restraining order after filing a lawsuit charging Murphy didn't have the legal authority to impanel the task force, and that they are being accused of wrongdoing in its public hearings without due process.

But Jacobson said, "The public interest weighs out over the private interest" in this particular case, adding that the Legislature should have the task force's initial findings before current tax incentive programs expire in less than two weeks.

Failure to Comply

In part, the task force said it has uncovered examples where companies, “whether intentionally or not,” had failed to comply with the requirements for their tax incentives by either submitting inaccurate information in their applications or later falling out of compliance.

“The task force has obtained some voluntary terminations of awards, and has referred others to the State Treasury or either law enforcement agencies, the EDA, or both, which may result in, among other things, steps to suspend or terminate these awards,” the report said. “The aggregate value of the awards that were either voluntarily terminated or may be subject to such suspension/termination actions exceeds $500 million.”

One of the reasons Jacobson said she was refusing to block release of the task force’s report was that the Legislature needs to know its findings in order to set a future course for tax incentives in the Garden State.

The task force said that "special interests" -- who it later identifies as George Norcross III and Sheehy of Parker McKay -- had "succeeded in molding" 2013 tax incentive legislation and seeing that implementation of its regulations was in their favor.

"The result is that New Jersey’s tax-incentive programs have not been 'neutral' in their design but have rather been structured in respects both large and small to favor the business interests of favored parties, sometimes in ways of debatable merit from a public policy standpoint," the report says. "This is troubling for many reasons, including that the New Jersey constitution contains certain prohibitions on 'special legislation.'”

The report cited many examples where it claimed Camden had received preferential treatment in terms of incentives and the 2013 legislation because of Norcross's actions and those of his associates. The task force said that aiding poverty-stricken Camden should be a priority for the state, but "as laudable as that end is, it does not necessarily justify, without any question or limitation, every conceivable means to accomplish it."

In one case, a simple internet search by the EDA would have revealed that three companies — Conner Strong & Buckelew, The Michaels Organization and NFI — had committed to move to Camden more than a year before submitting their tax incentive applications claiming they were considering relocating to Pennsylvania, according to the report.

"Had the EDA’s employees found this information, the EDA may have found these applications materially misleading, and denied an award on that basis," the task force said. "At a minimum, armed with this information, the EDA should have calculated these awards based only on new jobs moving to Camden from outside the state, and the awards to these three entities combined would have been reduced by over $70 million."

In another example, an simple internet search revealed that one business, nuclear company Holtec International, had been temporarily barred from doing business with the Tennessee Valley Authority but never mentioned that in its New Jersey tax incentive application, according to the task force. Holtec's past situation in Tennessee would been grounds for the EDA to turn down the company's application. But the EDA approved Holtec for a $260 million tax incentive award, the state's largest such award.

Holtec Award Suspended

Last month Holtec acknowledged that it did not disclose its prior "debarment" in Tennessee and sought to amend its application, according to the task force report. The EDA has suspended Holtec’s tax-incentive award pending further investigation, the report said.

George Norcross and the companies involved in the litigation did not immediately return requests for comment, but issued a statement to several media outlets.

“We will continue this litigation in an aggressive manner to protect our rights," the statement said. “Our litigation has never been about blocking an investigation, but rather to ensure that the governor’s task force gave each firm basic due process rights, including the opportunity to present fully the facts about their companies, their applications, and their decisions to move to Camden. Each of these companies has only ever requested a fair hearing and it is clear that was never going to happen with the governor’s task force.”

While the task force said its investigation is ongoing, it made a number of recommendations for future legislation, as well as for the EDA’s procedures in administering the tax incentive programs, including:

• Designing any future legislation to ensure as much as possible that the public policy goals are applied neutrally, without favoring specific business interests;

• Assuring that persons or firms who represent tax-incentive applicants are properly registered as lobbyists under the New Jersey Legislative and Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act;

• Refraining from providing draft EDA regulations to people or firms that represent tax-incentive applicants outside the public notice-and-comment procedure under the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act;

• Taking steps to ensure that tax incentives are structured so that they result in a net gain to the state, or, if they do not, that fact is transparent;

• Ensuring that the language of any new legislation and implementing regulations more clearly sets forth the standards to be applied in determining eligibility for tax incentives;

• Strengthening the EDA’s ability to withhold all or part of an award where a company has failed to meet its commitments, and ensuring that the EDA has sufficient data to fully evaluate a company’s compliance with its incentive agreement;

• Requiring the EDA to implement formal written policies and procedures governing all aspects of the programs and their administration and to undertake to formally train its staff in how to review program applications and monitor compliance;

• Requiring the EDA to use an experienced professional services firm to conduct a background check on each applicant and its affiliates and senior executives;

• Strengthening the EDA’s process for conducting diligence into an applicant’s claim that it intends to locate out of state absent the award of tax incentives from New Jersey.
https://product.costar.com/home/news/1275158898?tag=1

Full Report: https://costar.brightspotcdn.com/0a/...rst-report.pdf
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  #3382  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 9:33 PM
3rd&Brown 3rd&Brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanthusiat View Post
I don't really want to get into a political debate or anything, but I believe he is referring to the fact that New Jersey only gets back $0.82 from the federal government for each dollar it pays in taxes (49th out of 50 states), which resulted in a $21B outflow from NJ in FY 2017. I struggle with this argument because people who would identify as "liberal" who complain about this discrepancy are sort of arguing against the progressive taxation that they would claim to support. If New Jersey residents are wealthier on average (which they are), then they should expect exactly this result.

Source: https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uplo...f-Payments.pdf
Except the (conservative) states that benefit have this perception they're "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps". They're not.
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  #3383  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 11:09 PM
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I don't think it's hypocritical for a "liberal" or "progressive" person to expect that what they pay in taxes should come back as a benefit to their state as equitably as possible. I don't see how that's the same thing as a graduated progressive income tax structured the way it is to benefit society.
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  #3384  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2019, 3:50 AM
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Posting this here as well as the Transportation thread because it's relevant:

Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA
Quote:
Amtrak is tightening the screws on three commuter operators using its infrastructure—Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Chicago’s Metra and now the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

In 2015, Amtrak lobbyists buried in a 1,030-page highway bill language to redefine its Northeast Corridor (NEC) to include track owned by Amtrak’s Washington Terminal Company. VRE’s contract operator, Keolis Transportation—which won a competitive bid to replace Amtrak years earlier—uses that track to reach Washington Union Station.

Had the provision—which no member of Congress admitted to sponsoring—not been excised after this column exposed the maneuver, it would have undermined VRE’s ability to seek Surface Transportation Board (STB) relief from Amtrak abuse.

In 2018, Amtrak sought to purge the common carrier status of Chicago Union Station (CUS) by merging it into Amtrak. The intent, says Metra, which carries 100,000 passengers weekly and accounts for 83% of CUS arrivals and departures, is to block Metra’s ability to seek STB relief were Amtrak to impose discriminatory access fees. A Metra challenge is pending before the STB.

Amtrak just can’t stop emulating 19th century railroad tycoons—termed “robber barons” in 1859 by The New York Times. Amtrak’s latest assault on the public interest is directed at SEPTA, which operates over Amtrak’s NEC some 200 daily commuter trains serving 40 stations and carrying 12 million passengers annually. Amtrak has sued SEPTA in federal court to end SEPTA’s rights to operate over the NEC. Success would allow Amtrak unilaterally to impose hefty station-rent increases, or sell or lease the stations for commercial development.

SEPTA’s opposition relies on a congressional mandate laid out in at least three statutes—the 1973 Regional Rail Reorganization (3-R) Act, the 1976 Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform (4-R) Act, and the 1981 Northeast Railroad Service Act (NERSA). They created and transferred to SEPTA and other NEC commuter railroads permanent rights to operate over the NEC and use the
passenger stations.

In exchange, SEPTA bears all station costs directly, and pays Amtrak for use of its tracks under congressionally established cost allocations. SEPTA says it invested more than $228 million over the past 15 years in station capital improvements. Amtrak pays nothing toward six stations SEPTA and Amtrak share.
https://www.railwayage.com/regulator...targets-septa/
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Philadelphia Transportation Thread: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=164129
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  #3385  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2019, 4:01 AM
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Finally some new out of Reading area

Drexel, Tower Health break ground on new medical school building

Read/view more here:
https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...w-medical.html
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  #3386  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 7:01 PM
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Quote:
Topgolf proposed for King of Prussia

Provco Group has filed plans to develop a Topgolf Entertainment Group facility at a property in Upper Merion.

The project at 588 N. Gulph Rd. has been in the works behind the scenes for nearly a year and will come before Upper Merion planning officials at a meeting next week. The plans call for demolishing two existing structures at the former American Baptist Church, according to plans filed with the township and Montgomery County. One of the structures is a 145,000-square-foot circular building referred to as the Holy Donut and the other is a 126,000-square-foot, crescent-shaped building.
https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel..._news_headline

I for one am thrilled.
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  #3387  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2019, 12:51 AM
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  #3388  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 1:25 PM
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  #3389  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 2:38 PM
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Sora West

https://morethanthecurve.com/view-of...ne-townhomes/?

Pic and video of the construction site in the link.
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  #3390  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 2:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanthusiat View Post
Finally. This was supposed to start in 2017, but Amtrak sat on their asses.
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Philadelphia Transportation Thread: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=164129
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  #3391  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 4:05 PM
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Quote:
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Hum. This is nice for KOP. I would like one of these in Philly too. Right on the Delaware or Schuylkill, also with an outdoor driving range and fairway like Chelsea Piers. Maybe on that parking lot where Mandeville was supposed to go...
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  #3392  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2019, 2:27 PM
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North Wilmington - The Concord

B/P Group's North Wilmington oasis of luxury apartments and retail now has 3 buildings completed, 2 restaurants open, and an upscale men's salon/barber shop about to open.
It appears work is about to begin on the next 2 buildings (fenced off area with equipment on site).





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  #3393  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2019, 3:10 PM
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Wilmington - Incyte Expansion

So although Incyte just moved into their new HQs on Augustine Cutoff right outside the city limits of Wilmington, the rapidly growing pharma company needs more space, and already has plans to build new buildings next to the old Wanamaker Building. Incyte is essentially planning on a campus, multiple buildings (in addition to the current two in use).

It's a shame Wilmington couldn't get Incyte to locate actually within the city, whether it was Downtown or the Riverfront.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/In...!4d-75.5535578 -- where new buildings will go.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/In...!4d-75.5535578 -- new HQs.
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  #3394  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2019, 4:03 PM
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^^^ I was in Wilmington last weekend visiting in-laws and we ate at Taverna. It is SOOOOOOO good!
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  #3395  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2019, 8:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jawnadelphia View Post
So although Incyte just moved into their new HQs on Augustine Cutoff right outside the city limits of Wilmington, the rapidly growing pharma company needs more space, and already has plans to build new buildings next to the old Wanamaker Building. Incyte is essentially planning on a campus, multiple buildings (in addition to the current two in use).

It's a shame Wilmington couldn't get Incyte to locate actually within the city, whether it was Downtown or the Riverfront.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/In...!4d-75.5535578 -- where new buildings will go.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/In...!4d-75.5535578 -- new HQs.
Good news! Is there an article or something detailing the growth?

I also wish that they had planted in downtown or the riverfront, but it’s not a bad location. Very easily accessible from walkable neighborhoods like Trolley, Forty Acres, and the Triangle. It’d be cool if they could directly link the campus to the greenway system.
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  #3396  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2019, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nomad9 View Post
Good news! Is there an article or something detailing the growth?

I also wish that they had planted in downtown or the riverfront, but it’s not a bad location. Very easily accessible from walkable neighborhoods like Trolley, Forty Acres, and the Triangle. It’d be cool if they could directly link the campus to the greenway system.
I remember hearing that a few people do bike to this office, but I'd be surprised if any walk, despite the proximity. As of March (latest info I have; I don't live in WIL anymore), there are indeed plans to connect this site to the trail network, and I expect it to happen relatively soon.
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  #3397  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2019, 3:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad9 View Post
Good news! Is there an article or something detailing the growth?

I also wish that they had planted in downtown or the riverfront, but it’s not a bad location. Very easily accessible from walkable neighborhoods like Trolley, Forty Acres, and the Triangle. It’d be cool if they could directly link the campus to the greenway system.
I agree. This expansion is very exciting. The Incyte Campus is one of my favorites in architecture. I also love how it has that huge deck with a beautiful view of downtown without having to be tall.

I'm still dreaming for the day we see skyscraper construction in downtown again, but I'm happy to see a company thriving in Wilmington! That's progress in the right direction.
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  #3398  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2019, 1:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad9 View Post
Good news! Is there an article or something detailing the growth?

I also wish that they had planted in downtown or the riverfront, but it’s not a bad location. Very easily accessible from walkable neighborhoods like Trolley, Forty Acres, and the Triangle. It’d be cool if they could directly link the campus to the greenway system.
In March, there was a big community meeting, a showing of renderings, and company officials explaining Incyte's need for more buildings. I recently became more interested because I've noticed a construction crew on site, digging taking place, and a fence put up. It seems pretty safe to assume that Incyte is beginning there further expansion here.

Here's a great write-up on Incyte in the Inquirer, 7/10/19:
"Incyte employs more than 1,300 worldwide, including 900 at this headquarters and research center, built into the hillside around a stone-and-glass-fronted former John Wanamaker store. Employees earned an average $228,000 last year -- not counting Hoppenot, who has collected $37 million in cash and stock grants over the last three years."
https://www.inquirer.com/business/du...-20190710.html

More info on the next phase of expansion here:
"Incyte Corp. has submitted a pre-exploratory land development plan to New Castle County to build a laboratory and parking deck in Wilmington. The project, valued at up to $50 million, includes a 183,000-sq-ft building and a two-story parking deck that would connect to Incyte’s existing campus. The project also includes landscaping, stormwater management and a multi-use path. Incyte Corp., Route 141 & Henry Clay Road, Building E336, Wilmington, 19880. DR#201900622078v1."
https://www.enr.com/articles/47041-m...-for-june-2019
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  #3399  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2019, 1:22 PM
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Riverside, NJ - Watchcase factory

After a couple decades of false starts, the Watchcase factory in Riverside, NJ (right next to a NJT RiverLine station) is beginning restoration and renovation to become 64 apartments. An expected future development behind it should have 180+ new units built.


More from the Drone Factor


Photo Credit Lorraine Keating Hatcher



Photo cerdit Denise Guglielmucci
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  #3400  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2019, 5:54 PM
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Teva buys three buildings in West Chester for its R&D campus
https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...er-campus.html

Quote:
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA bought three buildings in West Chester this week that — together with three other adjacent buildings it already owns — will allow the pharmaceutical manufacturer to “firmly establish” a North America research & development campus in Chester County.

About 650 employees will be based at Teva in West Chester by the end of 2019, including teams involved in product and device research and development, regulatory affairs, medical affairs and a variety of support functions.
It is good they will maintain an R&D presence despite the HQ move
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