$81M and 80 new jobs
Goya Foods Inc. breaks ground on new facility in Jersey City
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Sep 09, 2012 | 7808 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Christie (far right) said the Goya development will boost the local economy.
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Goya Foods Inc. broke ground in Jersey City on what will be the company’s new 615,000 square foot headquarters on County Road. The company, the largest Latino-owned company in the U.S., is expanding its operations beyond it current facility on Seaview Drive in Secaucus.

Gov. Chris Christie, whose administration offered Goya tax incentives to stay in New Jersey, was on hand for the groundbreaking on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Christie was joined by officials from Goya, the state’s Economic Development Authority (EDA), Jersey City, Secaucus, and the Rockefeller Group, which owns the property at 350 County Rd., where the new headquarters will be built.

Last year, the EDA approved $81.9 million in tax breaks for Goya through the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Program, which offers tax breaks to companies that move to designated transit hubs in the state.

Proponents of the deal said it was necessary to keep Goya based in New Jersey.
‘I think this investment is one that will pay off with jobs and a more vibrant economy.’ – Chris Christie
“There were some sites in Pennsylvania and Rockland County, New York, and Orange County, New York, that we considered,” Goya Executive Vice President Peter Unanue told the Reporter at the groundbreaking. “The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority worked to make the numbers feasible, and that’s what really tipped it in favor of Jersey City and allowed us to stay in the state and in the Meadowlands.”

The company, he added, was started in Manhattan in 1936 but moved to Secaucus in 1974.

The new facility will include 577,000 square feet of warehouse space and 40,000 square feet of office space.

The Goya facility is one of the few new large developments currently underway in Jersey City. Two residential developments are being built at 110 First St. and at 18th Street and Coles. The next phase of the Aqua Blu development is also being built on River Drive.

80 jobs created

More than 500 current Goya employees will be transferred from the company’s facilities in Secaucus and Long Island to the new Jersey City headquarters, Unanue said at the groundbreaking, and about 80 new jobs will be created. In addition, 150 temporary construction jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project. (On Monday, Sept. 10, Goya Foods will hold a skills training fair at 10 a.m. for Jersey City residents interested in construction union apprenticeship programs. For more information, see Briefs, Jersey City Reporter, Sept. 9, 2012.)

“Goya had a lot of different options,” Gov. Christie said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “I think this investment is one that will pay off with jobs and a more vibrant economy as we move forward in the future. The investment Goya is making here today is an investment in New Jersey employees and in this community. It’s testament to the faith the company has in the new direction that the state has charted, and it’s a sign for those who are looking at our state as a place to do business of the work that we’ve been doing to try and make sure that this climate is one that people will find welcoming, and not one that will leave them having to run out of the state because of ever higher taxes and more onerous regulations.”

Critics of the tax package, however, note that the state is spending more than $1 million for every job new job created.

Co. received local tax breaks, too

In addition to the tax breaks from the state, the Jersey City Council approved its own package of tax incentives for Goya.

The company’s 20-year payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement with Jersey City will require Goya to pay $806,400 annually for the first six years the company is in Jersey City. In years seven through 12 the company will pay $892,950 each year. In years 13 through 20, Goya will pay $979,500 each year.

Under the company’s agreement with the city, Goya will pay an annual service charge that will be passed along to Hudson County for county taxes and will have to pay an annual administrative fee. Both of these fees will increase incrementally over the duration of the 20-year agreement with the city. Goya’s annual county tax fee will start out at $40,320, and the annual administrative fee will start out at $16,128.

The company has also agreed to pay a one-time sum of $114,700 to Jersey City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Goya will not contribute to the local school system.

Given that the city currently receives only $299,300 in property taxes from the 350 County Ave. site, members of the City Council who supported the PILOT agreement last year said this is a good deal for Jersey City.

But because of the state’s $81.9 million in tax breaks to Goya, some Jersey City residents and City Council members have argued the city should not have approved a tax abatement agreement as well. They have also argued that too few new jobs will be created for the money the company is saving in local and state tax payments.

Last year, New Jersey Policy Perspective, a Trenton-based think tank, estimated that Goya will likely create only nine new jobs as a result of its move to Jersey City.

The new facility, which will be used as a distribution center, is scheduled to open in spring 2014. The company will keep its current warehouse open in Secaucus and will use the facility for manufacturing.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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