777 Scudders Mill Road in Plainsboro — Courtesy: Colliers International
By Joshua Burd
The state has approved a 10-year, $12.8 million tax credit package to encourage a biotechnology company to expand in Mercer County, with the potential to take 90,000 square feet at a former Bristol-Myers Squibb headquarters campus in Plainsboro.
The company, Genmab US Inc., secured the approval on Tuesday at the Economic Development Authority’s monthly board meeting. Currently based in West Windsor, the firm has proposed moving to 777 Scudders Mill Road in Plainsboro in order to support its growing space needs.
This building would serve as Genmab’s new U.S. headquarters and would include both office space and a biology lab for its research team, according to the EDA. The space would house 66 jobs currently based in Plainsboro and an estimated 150 additional jobs that the fast-growing company expects to create over the next three years.
Genmab, an affiliate of a publicly traded, Copenhagen-based company, told the EDA it was also considering an alternate site in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania. The proposed New Jersey location is part of two buildings with 440,000 square feet that went on the market last year after being vacated by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has moved to a new headquarters in Lawrenceville.
An analysis submitted to the EDA found New Jersey to be the more expensive option, the authority said, noting that the project would have an estimated net benefit to the state of $146.4 million over 20 years.
Genmab was the lone applicant under the Grow New Jersey program to be considered at Tuesday’s board meeting, as the state’s tax incentives come under increasing scrutiny. Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered a task force to investigate possible abuse by tax credit recipients, following a state comptroller’s audit that raised questions about whether some of those companies have kept their commitments for job creation and investment.
Published reports Tuesday said that a crowd of activists descended on the EDA meeting, demanding that its board members resign. Meantime, Grow New Jersey and other incentive programs, which are popular with the state’s commercial real estate industry, are set to expire at the end of June.
Murphy has said he supports incentives as part of a broad economic development strategy, but in a more targeted way that includes caps on annual allocations.