Braving strong chilly winds and an hour's delay by Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, about 70 people observed an official groundbreaking ceremony for the first project at the 50 acres of Greenville Yards that will become a Foreign Trade Zone.
The event site on Industrial Drive in Port Jersey, adjacent to Tropicana, was a stone's throw from the project, a 120,000-square-foot refrigerated food warehouse and office facility for the Summit Imports Corp. Summit Imports is moving its operations from the TriBeCa section of Manhattan to the 10-acre Jersey City site.
The designated developer for the Greenville acres is Barrett Companies of Ridgewood. The undeveloped 50 acres of land runs from Route 169, near the Bayonneborder to the Hudson River.
"Besides several hundred construction jobs, Summit will bring 100 permanent jobs with them, half of which will go to local people," said Schundler, who apologized to those at the ceremony for his delay.
The mayor said Summmit will pay $180,000 annually in lieu of taxes in a 12-year abatement deal on land that has not paid any taxes for a decade.
"We have the transportation network, and it's cost-efficient," said Schundler of the reasons why Summit moved across the Hudson River. The mayor added that the site was ideally located for warehousing near port facilities. He added that better roadways would soon be constructed in the Port Jersey area.
Steel superstructure for the warehouse has been erected and Thomas J.Barrett, a principal of the development firm, said it will stand despite a rocky start when some of the steel collapsed during high winds last month.
"It was unfortunate but the wind was blowing at 80 miles per hour," said Barrett.
Federal laws make Foreign Trade Zones possible and they handle more than $100 billion in goods in this country annually. They are set up as places-factories and warehouses-where companies can import foreign components and finished products and then store, assemble and package the products while they are temporarily shielded from duties imposed on the goods.
The company inside a Foreign Trade Zone delays paying duties until its product is "imported" from the zone to the United States. This improves cash flow and reduces costs because firms can put off borrowing.
By Agustin C. Torres
Journal staff writer
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