100 Tice Blvd. in Woodcliff Lake
By Joshua Burd
State officials have approved a nearly $10 million tax credit that would pave the way for Party City Holdings Inc. to lease more than 200,000 square feet of office space in Woodcliff Lake.
The incentive, the first awarded under the new Emerge program, is aimed at encouraging the company to move its headquarters to 100 Tice Blvd. under a full-building, 16-year lease. According to the state Economic Development Authority, the move would allow for the consolidation of existing offices in Rockaway and Elmsford, New York, the site of its current headquarters, and provide a new home for a projected 695 employees.
The EDA approved the seven-year, $9.996 million award on Wednesday at its monthly board meeting, noting that Party City is also considering an alternative site in White Plains, New York. If the company chooses Woodcliff Lake, it would bring 357 new full-time jobs to New Jersey and preserve 338 full-time, non-retail jobs that are at risk leaving the state, although the existing positions did not factor into the subsidy award.
“The applicant’s goal for this real estate consolidation is to have a single headquarter presence that would allow the company to expand at one facility, creating synergy, increasing collaboration and improving team building among its employees,” the authority wrote in a memo to its board.
The Emerge program, created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, is part of a sweeping new package of incentives crafted by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration. The long-awaited program is meant to promote economic development in the state’s priority sectors by offering per-job tax credits for up to seven years, provided the proposals meet certain eligibility criteria at application and during a commitment period that is 1.5 times the length of the award.
Most projects must also have a net positive economic benefit to the state equating to 400 percent of the tax credit amount. In Party City’s case, the EDA calculates that the present value of the net benefit to the state is about $35.7 million, or a 481 percent of the award.
“When we began working on reforming the state’s tax incentive program four years ago, this was exactly the type of award we envisioned — a project that will bring good, high-paying jobs to New Jersey at a reasonable investment,” Murphy said. “A big piece of building a stronger and fairer New Jersey is fueling a strong 21st century economy that works for everyone. We view this new incentive program as integral to the continued growth of New Jersey’s economy.”
The EDA said Wednesday that Party City, which operates some 825 company-owned and franchise stores throughout the U.S., would lease 208,911 square feet at the Woodcliff Lake site. The company’s anticipated eligible capital investment there is $32.3 million, including landlord and tenant improvements, design and construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment.
“(The company) anticipates transforming the building into an office environment and a state-of-the-art technology space that will showcase products as well as host vendors and clients,” EDA staff wrote in the board memo. “The building will have workspace to accommodate approximately 800 employees including open space, huddle rooms, conference rooms with white boards, offices, studio space for photography sessions for products and showcase items.”
Party City’s founder, Steve Mandell, started the business in 1986 in East Hanover and took it public a decade leader. It is now the largest retailer of party goods in the North America, operating company-owned and franchise outlets, while also designing, manufacturing and distributing party goods found in more than 40,000 retail outlets worldwide.
Owned by Signature Acquisitions, 100 Tice became available when Eisai Inc. agreed to move its headquarters to Prism Capital Partners’ ON3 campus. The Japanese pharmaceutical company is leasing more than 300,000 square feet at 200 Metro Blvd. in Nutley.
Party City has provided evidence that it has a competing incentive offer through New York State’s Excelsior Tax Credit Program for up to $15.7 million over 10 years, the EDA said. The authority also noted that, while the 357 new jobs are eligible for an incentive award, the 338 at-risk jobs are not eligible to be incentivized because they fall below the minimum requirement of 500 retained at-risk jobs.
“Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy is rooted in creating good, family-sustaining jobs,” said Tim Sullivan, the authority’s CEO. “The Emerge Program is a critical economic development tool that facilitates equitable job creation and growth. The project approved today shows this program’s potential to bring hundreds of good jobs to New Jersey. This is stronger and fairer economic development in action.”