March 13, 2011
BUSINESS INFLUX STRENGTHENS ECONOMY IN NORTH BRUNSWICK
With the relocation of Church & Dwight Co. out of state, and the closing of Pathmark and A.J. Wright due to corporate reasons, there are quite a few vacant buildings and “for lease” signs throughout town. However, Michael Hritz, director of the North Brunswick Department of Community Development, said that in many cases, those landlords are still collecting rent from the previous owner, which he said maintains tax ratables until a new tenant can be secured.
“We are certainly not immune to today’s economic challenges and can’t control the commercial real estate environment. Everyone is disappointed when a store like Pathmark closes, but you understand itís part of a larger issue and not unique to its North Brunswick location. But we are competing and fairing very well with our neighbors. All of this recent activity demonstrates that North Brunswick remains a great and successful place to do business,” he said.
Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack believes that North Brunswick is a viable territory for businesses because of its geographic location. “I think we’ve got to try and find industries that will fit in town in a way that they fit with our expanding residential population,” Womack said. “We have to ask ourselves how development, or redevelopment, in a way, encourages the right kind of new business to move here and complements the surrounding residential neighborhoods rather than place a burden.”
And then there are businesses that have established themselves, like Capacity LLC, and continue to expand and thrive in town. Located off Jersey Avenue on Corporate Road, Capacity LLC has just expanded to three warehouse facilities, including one of the vacant Church & Dwight buildings. The warehousing and third-party order fulfillment company has been in town for over 10 years, expanding to its second building in November 2009 and its third building two months ago, totaling over 400,000 square feet.
Thomas E. Campbell, Chief Strategy Officer for Capacity, said that 200 employees are located in North Brunswick, most of whom live between Toms River and Elizabeth. “We felt this area had a combination of good personnel, good value per square foot, and a good relationship with vendors and the township,” he said.
Campbell said there has been growth from existing clients and the addition of new business, handling over 100 companies in every area including toys, beauty products, apparel, water bottles, yoga accessories and solar panels. “All you have to do is drive down Route 1. Something happens, like Pathmark closes, and the ripple effect is very chilling. We couldn’t stay here if it wasn’t a good business decision, but a lot of my clients choose to do business here because of the proximity to New York,” Campbell said.