Honeywell Awarded $40 Million Grant to Stay in NJ
EDA approves incentive to keep Fortune-100 company's headquarters in Morris Township.
The tax credits, received under the Grow New Jersey Program, has provided the Fortune-100 company with an incentive to stay after it recently considered relocating to Pennsylvania.
The $38 billion company applied for the credits in June, as it considered moving because of rising redevelopment costs.
But after the grant was awarded on Thursday, it appears the company will not be going anywhere soon, as it is in the midst of a two-plus year redevelopment process that would add 235 townhomes and about 900,000 square feet of office and lab space on the property.
The proposed redevelopment plan is now before the Township Committee, with public hearings on the zoning ordinance that would allow the plan. The second public hearing took place on Wednesday night, with input from traffic and environmental experts.
The township committee and public has now heard the fiscal, environmental and traffic impacts expected if the proposed changes go through on Honeywell's campus, and the process will continue next week on Wednesday at the regular township committee meeting, where the public will have the chance to be heard again on the zoning ordinance.
Honeywell says its property is currently underutilized with only 40 percent of its space being used for its 1,100 employees.
According to njbiz.com, authority CEO Caren S. Franzini said at Thursday's meeting that it was expected that Honeywell would apply for a grant back in 2010 under the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant program, but never did.
In a release from Honeywell in June, the company said after its redevelopement costs doubled, they applied for Grow NJ instead because it provided a more "potent incentive for large‐scale capital intensive projects."
"In the two years since the passage of the BRRAG legislation, as Honeywell pursued local approvals for the redevelopment of its current site, the cost to complete this renovation doubled from approximately $50 million to the current estimate of just under $100 million, due in large part to necessary infrastructure improvements and other costs like those associated with achieving an energy efficient facility and LEED status," Honeywell's statement read.
The New Jersey Sierra Club, the nation's largest grassroots environmental organization, said Thursday in response to the grant that it believes Honeywell is only looking to make money from the development, and that the tax credit is "more about Governor Christie taking care of his political allies in Morris County instead of taking care of tax payers in New Jersey who are paying high property taxes."
The organization said the EDA should instead be helping companies and other start-ups that would create new jobs instead of giving Honeywell money, after they have threatened to leave.
“This tax credit is about using tax payer money to subsidize a politically connected company,"Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said in the satement. "This will not create any new jobs instead we are subsidizing sprawl. While we give Honeywell all this money they will make even more money by developing the rest of their site.”