NUTLEY — Workers in hard hats were still putting the finishing touches on Ralph Lauren’s new Route 3 digs this week.
About 1,100 of the fashion giant’s employees will start to move into the seven-story ON3 complex this month, said Ralph Lauren spokeswoman Neha Wadhwa.
“We anticipate the move to be completed before the end of the calendar year,” Wadhwa said.
Ralph Lauren Corp. is relocating some of its corporate business lines as well as three premier brands, Club Monaco, Chaps and Polo Factory Stores, to the new space, she added. The facility once housed pharmaceutical giant Hoffmann-La Roche, which moved out in 2015.
Designers, planners and graphic designers, as well as administrative positions from several locations, will relocate to the Clifton/Nutley site, she said.
“The new office is a light-filled space with primarily collaborative open work spaces,” Wadhwa said. “There will be some offices and a variety of meeting spaces, showrooms and cafés. There will also be a courtyard for business and social gatherings.”
Tax breaks helped attract the fashion house.
In late 2017, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority offered incentives to Ralph Lauren Corp. and Quest Diagnostics to move their operations to the 116-acre campus.
The EDA approved $5.51 million for Quest and $3.3 million to Ralph Lauren in annual sales and use tax exemptions for 10 years.
Part of the tax strategy was to keep well-paying jobs in New Jersey and part to encourage economic activity in the region.
Roche at its peak had 10,000 people on the campus daily, noted Eugene Diaz, principal for ON3, the site’s developer. Clifton and Nutley lost millions in local tax dollars and thousands of jobs with Roche’s closure.
“The goal is to get back to that amount, however with a different profile of uses (live, work, play) which will mitigate traffic, since we won’t have the same peak hours,” he said.
Just lunches for so many added Ralph Lauren workers will mean a change.
“With 1,100 employees, they won’t accommodate all of them, and employees hate to eat in the same cafeteria every day,” Diaz said. “They have talked to Nutley and Prism [ON3’s parent company] and will be utilizing some shuttle services to take employees to various eateries in the surrounding area.”