Wednesday, July 9, 2014

$260M tax credit proposed to lure energy firm to Camden

by Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer

n a deal that would be bigger than that offered to the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Tuesday disclosed a proposal to award Holtec International Inc. $260 million in tax credits to locate some of its operations to Camden.
The credits under a Grow New Jersey Grant would be spread out at a rate of $26 million per year over 10 years.

The award would be the third largest subsidy of any kind awarded in New Jersey and the single largest Grow New Jersey grant. In 2013, the state awarded American Dream Meadowlands $390 million, for an entertainment, shopping mall complex in East Rutherford and Revel Casino received $261.4 million in 2011.
News of the potential project, listed online as part of a meeting agenda for the authority, comes a month after it awarded $86 million in tax credits over a decade the Sixers to build a practice facility and offices on the city's waterfront, moving there from Philadelphia.

Holtec, based in Marlton and Jupiter, Fla., is a multinational power-plant supplier founded by Krishna P. Singh, who has an engineering doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
It was not known in what capacity Holtec would operate in Camden or how many jobs it might create there. Pierre Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer of Holtec, declined to provide details. He said the company would not comment until Thursday, when the development authority was to meet to vote on the proposal and others across the state.

"It would be premature, honestly, and we don't want to interrupt the process," Oneid said.
Camden's business administrator, Robert Corrales, said the city's policy was to not comment on projects until they were formalized. "All I can say is that we welcome any viable business that will create real jobs for Camden residents," he said.

South Jersey Democratic power broker George E. Norcross III, who is chairman of Cooper Health System and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, sits on the board of trustees of Holtec, according to his profile on the website for Connor, Strong & Buckelew, an insurance firm where he is executive chairman.
Norcross could not be reached for comment.

His brother State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden) cosponsored the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which created additional incentives for companies to move to Camden. Donald Norcross declined to comment ahead of a formal announcement.

The law paved the way for the 76ers deal, criticized by some community members as too generous without enough local return on the investment. The 76ers must employ 250 people at the facility as part of the tax-credit agreement, but 200 of those employees were already with the organization, CEO Scott O'Neil has said.
At the time of the 76ers deal, Mayor Dana L. Redd said there were more announcements to come.
Holtec manufactures, among other things, equipment for the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods that allow plants to keep rods on site.

The company has supplied technology to 150 U.S. power plants, including more than 80 nuclear ones, according to a 2012 Inquirer article.

In the article, Singh said the company was looking to expand into a new kind of small, modular nuclear reactor that would be built underground.

The development authority's public meeting Thursday is scheduled for 10 a.m. at its office at 36 W. State St., Trenton.

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