A rendering of the proposed Camden Tower in Camden — Courtesy: Conner Strong & Buckelew
By Joshua Burd
Two restaurants are coming to the high-profile, waterfront office tower in Camden that will become the headquarters of three influential South Jersey companies.
The leaders of the three firms — NFI, Conner Strong & Buckelew and The Michaels Organization — announced Thursday a partnership with restaurateur Michael Schulson. He will lead the development and management of the new eateries at what has been dubbed Camden Tower, an 18-story, 375,000-square-foot complex that is slated for completion later this year.
The concepts of the new restaurants will be revealed in the coming months, the companies said.
“We are excited to have Michael Schulson bring his culinary vision to Camden as our partner in two new restaurants,” said George E. Norcross III, executive chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew and board chairman at Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “His talent, vision and business savvy will be key to Camden’s continued revitalization and adds an important next step in Camden’s renaissance.”
Schulson’s organization, the Schulson Collective, owns and manages restaurants in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Hollywood, Florida. He opened his first restaurant in 2008, debuting Izakaya in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and has gone on to lead successful Philadelphia restaurants such as Harp & Crown, Double Knot and Giuseppe & Sons.
The restaurateur now joins the long-running effort to redevelop Camden’s waterfront. NFI, Conner Strong and Michaels announced plans for the $245 million office tower in early 2017, pledging to relocate their respective headquarters from nearby suburbs and bring nearly 1,000 employees combined.
“Camden continues to grow and revitalize in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago and being able to attract a renowned restaurateur like Michael Schulson is clear proof of the direction Camden is heading,” said Sidney Brown, NFI’s CEO. “We are excited about Camden’s future and I am thrilled that our company will be a part of it as it continues to rise for a long time to come.”
Camden Tower is part of a master-planned, $1 billion redevelopment that also includes a newly opened headquarters for American Water. The leaders of NFI, Conner Strong and Michaels are also developing Camden’s first new market-rate residential building in decades, a 156-unit complex just steps from the office building.
“When we announced that The Michaels Organization was moving its headquarters to the Camden waterfront, I said we were eager for our employees to experience all the wonderful things that our new headquarters will provide and these new restaurants are exactly what I’d hoped for,” said John J. O’Donnell, CEO of The Michaels Organization, a development firm. “The city has a very bright future and I look forward to our firm calling it home and celebrating its successes at the new Schulson restaurants.”
Both Michaels and Conner Strong & Buckelew, an insurance and employee benefit brokerage firms, are currently based in Marlton. NFI, a leading global supply chain solutions provider, is based in Cherry Hill.
“We look forward to introducing exciting and unique dining experiences to the community in Camden,” Schulson said. “We are inspired to have teamed up with a group of terrific individuals who share our belief in the transformational power of economic investment.”