Southern New Jersey is in many ways worlds apart from the Northern and Central regions of the state. More rural and less densely populated, its economy is driven largely by industry, healthcare, education and agriculture. And while Atlantic County, with Atlantic City at its core, and Camden County, a Philadelphia commuting enclave, usually grab the South Jersey spotlight with their massive revitalization projects, some of the area’s lesser-publicized counties – Gloucester, Cape May, Burlington, Salem and Cumberland – are experiencing their share of significant economic development as well.
Pushing some of this growth is the fallout from COVID-19, as many city dwellers have moved to outer suburbs and more rural towns to escape crowding and unrest in the cities and take advantage of remote working opportunities and better housing prices.
“That’s been part of the problem: Getting people to understand that our county is a viable option from a business perspective, especially with access to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware,” says Jerry Velazquez, president and CEO of The Authority NJ (a.k.a. the Cumberland County Improvement Authority). “People are working from home and have the ability to pick where they want to live and work, so they’re looking at Cumberland differently than pre-COVID.”
He says Cumberland County has seen interest from businesses in sectors like manufacturing, warehousing and now the cannabis industry, with three to four large cannabis developments totaling 500,000 to 600,000 square feet anticipated for 2022.
Plans also include expansion of the Millville Airport as well as expansion of companies like Chem Glass, Kres Cold Storage, Rovagnati, Comar Glass, Oatley and Northeast Precast. Additionally, a soon-to-open data center in Deerfield Township will create up to 100 high-paying jobs in the IT field.
Burlington County is also seeing its share of industrial growth, including the opening of a third Moorestown location for OPEX, a warehouse and document & mail automation company, which also has a location in nearby Pennsauken. Meanwhile, the Rockefeller Group, has begun construction of a 345,600-square-foot distribution center approximately eight miles off Exit 7 of the New Jersey Turnpike in Eastampton Township that includes 96 trailer spaces, 54 dock doors, and 4,000 square feet of speculative office space.
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