Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

While Atlantic City Flails, Christie Turns to Camden for Cheer

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

While Atlantic City Flails, Christie Turns to Camden for Cheer

Article excerpt

Governor Christie called a $260 million investment -- offset by an equal amount in state tax breaks -- the mark of a "new era" for Camden, saying Monday that a plant to be built on the waterfront by an energy technology firm will create jobs and revive the beleaguered city's manufacturing heritage.

The incentives for the Holtec International project are the third- largest approved by the state's Economic Development Authority, next to the American Dream project in the Meadowlands and Revel Casino in Atlantic City.

But as Christie promoted a revitalization in Camden backed by state incentives, Atlantic City -- which he made a five-year commitment to revive shortly after he became governor in 2010 -- continued to falter after seeing millions of dollars of state- backed investment in economic development there. Employees of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino were notified Monday that the facility will close as early as September.

Holtec International, which has its corporate headquarters in Burlington County, said it plans to build a 600,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and research-and-development facility in Camden at the South Jersey Port's Broadway Marine Terminal over the next four years. In exchange, the state EDA will give the company $260 million in tax credits over 10 years, covering the cost of the construction, as long as Holtec meets certain benchmarks -- including maintaining 400 jobs at the site.

In Atlantic City, the news of the Trump Plaza closing came after Showboat announced it would close at the end of August, and as Revel, which has filed for bankruptcy, seeks a buyer. The Atlantic Club closed in January. The closures will mean the loss of thousands of jobs.

Although Christie said recently he would be willing to discuss allowing voters to decide next year whether to expand casino gaming outside of Atlantic City, he said he isn't giving up on reviving the once-booming resort town.

While the tax incentives haven't helped keep Atlantic City casinos open, Christie painted a more-hopeful picture for Camden, a Democratic city the Republican governor has frequently visited over the last 4 1/2 years. …

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