By Joshua Burd
Wakefern Food Corp. could be in line to expand its vast footprint in New Jersey, having told state officials it was considering a massive new warehouse facility in Perth Amboy.
The company — the retailer-owned cooperative for ShopRite, PriceRite and other supermarkets — was approved last week for a 10-year, $39.2 million tax credit under the state’s Grow New Jersey program. Wakefern told the Economic Development Authority it was considering the lease of a 930,750-square-foot, build-to-suit warehouse at 225 Elm St. in the city that would support its continued growth.
“The facility will be used to distribute to retail supermarkets owned and operated by members of the cooperative,” EDA officials wrote in a memo to board members. “The completed facility will operate 24 hours per day to maintain inventory levels at the retail locations.”
Wakefern was also considering a nearly 1.1 million-square-foot location in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the memo said. The New Jersey project would have an estimated completion date of May 2019.
Company representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Wakefern told the EDA the project would represent a capital investment of more than $116 million. It also said it would locate 172 existing full-time employees at the Perth Amboy facility and hire or relocate from out of state another 390 positions.
The authority said the project would have a net benefit to the state of $52.5 million over 20 years. Wakefern’s tax credit under the Grow New Jersey program was increased by bonus criteria such as the project’s location in a deep poverty pocket, Perth Amboy’s designation as a distressed municipality and the site’s proximity to a train station.
The cooperative, which includes 50 members, operates 2.5 million square feet of grocery and nonfood warehousing. It has served as the driver for several large industrial projects in the state in recent years, such as a 524,000-square-foot warehouse in Elizabeth in 2014, as its member operators continue to see growth across the state.
Its proposed new location in Perth Amboy is just minutes from the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and other key highways.