Choose New Jersey is moving its headquarters from Princeton to Newark, a move the board lauded at a meeting late Wednesday, ROI-NJ has learned.
The move is the second official one of three planned to create a broader economic development strategy for the state at the easy-to-access One Gateway Center.
The strategy includes a single floor of the Gateway building that would house the Choose headquarters, EDA satellite office — which includes the Office of International Trade and Investment — and a satellite Governor’s Office.
The EDA office would include 11 current Newark employees, plus additional staff from Trenton for a total of 45 employees in a 10,643-square-foot office space.
The EDA anticipates spending $2.3 million for improvements, fixtures, furniture, equipment and moving expenses.
The Choose office would be 7,000 square feet and could serve as an office model for the building when new owners Onyx showcase the building to interested companies. Choose would also maintain a satellite office in Princeton or in Trenton.
Numerous state officials said the three separate offices will make selling the state a little easier, in order to coordinate services such as finding tax incentives and other state programs to entice a company.
In addition, Newark was chosen for its ease of access by various methods of commute, including a short trip from the airport and access from New York City by train.
The satellite office for the governor also would serve as a ceremonial signing room for any companies that commit to moving to the state. The paperwork for the move from Two Gateway is currently in the works, according to two sources.
Former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno attended the Choose board meeting Wednesday evening, representing her firm Connell Foley.
She told ROI-NJ she was happy to see that Choose survived the change in administrations and lauded the move to Newark.
“My concern always was that it wouldn’t outlive the administration that created it,” she said. “They have built on what we started, quite frankly, in a positive way. What they did is what anyone would do—tweak it to be responsive to a new governor’s policies. To see them all go to Newark and be housed in the same building emphasizes that the model is the right model.”
In addition, having all three entities in one building is important, but the survival of the relationship of the head of Choose with the governor—which Guadagno said was always supposed to be a close one—helps to add a much needed personal touch to attract businesses, she said.