PhillyDeals: Business moves to N.J. outpace vacancies

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From parking lot to practice facility on Camden's Waterfront. The Sixers are required to maintain 250 jobs here to keep the tax credit. (Steven M. Falk/Staff)

So many companies are getting money from New Jersey to move into Camden, real estate people are starting to run out of move-in-ready places to stick them.

And neighboring Pennsauken's industrial districts are filling up too, says broker Ian Richman.

It's not just the many millions the state pledged to lure Cooper Health, Holtec International, and the 76ers  to move to the postindustrial city from a few miles away.

It's also grants to smaller companies, like Berry & Homer, which makes those fabric ads companies put on vehicles or buildings.

Berry & Homer is leaving its home at 2035 Richmond St. in Philadelphia's Port Richmond section to move to 7150 Westfield Ave. in Pennsauken, a site most recently used to store Camden County voting machines, Richman says. Richman helped the company find its new location along with Marc Isdaner, his fellow broker at Colliers International. The seller was the Bloom Organization.

Berry & Homer is moving with help from a $3.14 million, 10-year tax incentive from the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program. That's more than enough to cover payments on the property, which cost Berry & Homer $1.3 million. Chief executive Joe Thompson wasn't available to talk about the move when I called. Erin Gold, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which administers Grow N.J., told me there is no requirement that the company's capital investment in New Jersey match its tax credits.

Richman says he and Isdaner have sold 20 Pennsauken industrial properties since 2012, and "we are seeing a fair amount of movement from Philadelphia." The pair use Grow New Jersey tax incentives, which began in 2013, in their promotional materials.

At least one public company, Destination Maternity, used Grow N.J. tax breaks in leaving one of Philadelphia's most highly touted development sites, the former Navy Yard area in South Philly, to move to Moorestown in 2013.

 

More stores

Three days after rival Aldi said it would reopen 30 shuttered Bottom Dollar stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, discount grocer Save-A-Lot said Monday that it's planning seven new stores of its own in the same area.

The chain has found two new locations in North Philly, at Seventh and Lehigh and Fifth and Allegheny; another on Knights Road in the Northeast; and one each in Norristown and Lindenwold.

Save-A-Lot is also adding stores in Bridgeton, N.J., and Lebanon, Pa., according to broker Michael Murray of Metro Commercial Real Estate, who helped Save-A-Lot find the seven sites.

Save-A-Lot is owned by U.S. grocery holdings giant SuperValu Inc., which used to own Acme Markets.

The urban locations picked by both Save-A-Lot and Aldi, at sites averaging around 17,000 square feet, are welcome news in pockets of Philadelphia not favored by larger chains.

Realtor Shelli Lyons Katrina cheered the new-store announcements - especially Aldi's decision to open at the former Bottom Dollar on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown, where she works.

"It's hard to sell a local community without the grocery store," she told me.

 


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