By Joshua Burd
An online marketplace for dog breeders and owners is weighing plans for a new call center in Jersey City, having won approval for a 10-year, $4 million state tax credit incentive.
The company, PuppySpot Group LLC, was considering an 11,383-square-foot lease at 333 Washington St., according to the Economic Development Authority. The downtown property would house 60 new jobs in an effort to service the company’s growing customer base of prospective owners, who use the service to be connected with responsible breeders.
At its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, the EDA approved the Grow New Jersey tax credit to encourage PuppySpot to choose the Jersey City location over a competing site in Hollywood, Florida. The authority estimates the project would have a net benefit to the Garden State of $400,961 over 20 years, thanks in part to a proposed capital investment of nearly $2 million.
PuppySpot already leases space in the Hollywood location and currently has more than 200 employees and offices in Florida, California and Utah, the EDA said. Founded in 2005, the company has placed and transported more than 150,000 puppies, working with thousands of responsible breeders throughout the country.
Murphy Partners LLP represented PuppySpot in its application to the state.
The company was among three applicants to be approved for Grow New Jersey awards during Tuesday’s EDA meeting. As part of this month’s agenda, the authority also approved the framework for a data sharing agreement between its staff and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which calls for the latter to provide the EDA with quarterly wage and employer data information in a searchable format.
The move follows a recent state comptroller’s report that harshly criticized the EDA for its oversight of the incentive programs and its efforts to verify job creation after it makes an award. The authority, which has broad support from the state’s commercial real estate sector, defended its practices after the audit but also pledged to take steps to improve transparency and management of the programs.
“The Authority recognizes the value of establishing a data sharing agreement with the NJLWD to promote additional compliance with the rules and regulations of the job-based incentive programs within the Authority,” CEO Tim Sullivan wrote in a memo to board members on Tuesday, later adding: “This information will strengthen the Authority’s ability to cross-reference the employment information provided by our applicants with the data submitted to NJLWD.”