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Brooklyn startup offered $32 million tax credit to move to former Roche campus
Real Estate NJ
July 14, 2017
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The state has offered a $32.3 million tax credit to a Brooklyn-based biotech firm that is considering a move to the former Hoffman-LaRoche campus in northern New Jersey.

The company, Modern Meadow, would lease 119,327 square feet within the Nutley portion of the campus under a proposal submitted to the state Economic Development Authority. That transaction would include about 73,000 square feet of existing space and 46,420 square feet of additional construction to support its business, which involves the so-called biofabrication of leather that is made from collagen protein instead of animals.

If the firm accepts the 10-year Grow New Jersey tax credit, it would be among the first major tenants to repopulate the historic Roche campus on Route 3, which was vacated by the Swiss pharmaceutical company after some 80 years. It has since been acquired by affiliates of Prism Capital Partners, a Bloomfield-based developer that sees its future as a dynamic, mixed-use corporate center.

An EDA board memo says the total investment of the project, including construction, machinery, equipment and build-out, is $20.8 million. Modern Meadow, founded in 2011, has told the state the project would result in the creation of 263 new jobs to New Jersey.

The firm is also considering an alternative location in Farmingdale, New York, according to the EDA. Modern Meadow CEO Andras Forgacs has told the state that New Jersey is the more expensive option and that the tax credit is a material factor in the company's location decision.

The EDA on Thursday also approved a nearly $25.8 million tax credit for Jet.com, the Hoboken-based e-commerce startup that was acquired by Walmart last summer. The company has grown from 10 to 3,000 employees since its founding in 2014 and is now entering into a new expansion period to serve customers across Walmart's growing omnichannel platform.

As such, Jet told the EDA it's considering leasing an additional 39,990 square feet at its current headquarters building at 221 River St. The alternative is to bifurcate the expansion between out-of-state locations, including 25,000 square feet at Walmart's global headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and additional space in New York City.

The 10-year tax credit from the EDA is meant to incentivize Jet to choose New Jersey, with the company noting that it expects to create 322 new business and technology jobs as part of the expansion. EDA officials estimate the project would have a net benefit to the state of $33 million over 20 years.