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DRBA commits $5 million to Tech Park

The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commissioners unanimously approved $5 million in funding for the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University. The funding will be used to construct a 45,000-square-foot building on the Tech Park campus. The facility will accommodate academic and private sector research and development programs and provide the resources necessary to incubate small for-profit technology start-up companies.

“The South Jersey Technology Park has a number of advantages—situated near major highways; access to a skilled, talented labor market; and devoted advocates with a vision to improve the regional economy,” said Dr. Warren S. Wallace, vice chairman of the DRBA. “The mix of academia, research and development tools and technology incubation are the necessary ingredients to provide an atmosphere conducive for innovative and cutting-edge technological advancements that will create jobs.”

“My administration is working to make New Jersey the best place in the nation for scientific and medical research,” New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said. “The South Jersey Technology Park is an exciting part of that plan. The partnership between Rowan University and private sector researchers will help new high-tech companies get started; it will create good-paying jobs; and it will speed innovations from the lab to the marketplace. All of that will breed even greater success for New Jersey’s strong and growing economy.”

The University will repay the DRBA loan using fees charged to companies leasing space at the Technology Park. “We are pleased to have the Delaware River and Bay Authority’s confidence in this project. We should be able to have architectural plans in place and break ground within 8 months and have the building open approximately a year after that,” said Dr. Donald Farish, president of Rowan University.

Through its economic development powers, DRBA manages corporate and aviation properties—two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities.

Entrepreneurial Forum launched in South Jersey

With the goal of promoting a more entrepreneurial environment in the South Jersey region, Rowan University, Rutgers University and area business and industry leaders have formed the Entrepreneurial Forum of Southern New Jersey, Inc. This not-for-profit organization will work to foster the development of entrepreneurial ideas and ventures, as well as strive to improve the success rate of emerging, growth-oriented companies.

The Forum will focus on meeting the needs of entrepreneurs, businesses and educational institutions throughout the South Jersey region and primarily will serve Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem counties.

According to Dr. K. Mark Weaver, Forum coordinator and Rohrer Chair of Entrepreneurial Studies at Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., “South Jersey is a dynamic region, but historically it has not had an emerging growth, entrepreneurially based economy. Because of that, there never has been an adequate support infrastructure to nurture and develop such companies. The Entrepreneurial Forum aims to change that.”

Frank Keith, executive director of Rutgers Camden Technology Campus, Inc., Camden, N.J., agrees, “The Forum will provide the expertise and opportunities needed to encourage local entrepreneurs and businesses to pursue their ideas. Ultimately, we believe our group will promote business growth that will mean more jobs and revenues for the region.”

Among the plans of the Forum are to leverage the collective resources of Rowan and Rutgers universities, top business leaders, professionals and government officials to improve the flow of ideas, services and funding to entrepreneurs and to help connect emerging businesses with resources needed for growth. The group will provide seminars, events, resources and networking opportunities to the entrepreneurial community, colleges and universities and secondary schools throughout South Jersey. The Forum expects businesses under five years old and with revenues under $50 million to find these resources especially beneficial.

The Forum will be administered by a board of directors, which includes entrepreneurs, businesses leaders, education representatives, government officials and economic development professionals, assisted by representatives from the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Rowan University and the entrepreneurial program at Rutgers University. The Forum also has an advisory board composed of representatives from area service providers, financial institutions, private equity sources and businesses interested in working with entrepreneurs and emerging companies.

Marchese named director

The South Jersey Technology Park Board of Directors appointed Dr. Anthony Marchese project director of the Tech Park. Marchese, a professor of mechanical engineering at Rowan University’s College of Engineering, was approved for a one-year, part-time appointment.

In his new post, Marchese will be involved in the initial development of the Technology Park; pre-construction facility planning; design of the first building; outreach to government, economic development organizations and local industry; internal communication and fundraising.

Tech Board enters agreement with developer

The South Jersey Technology Park’s Board of Directors named Lincoln Property Company as master developer of the Tech Park. The developer will provide pre-construction and pre-development services for the Technology Park, actively market the site, manage the infrastructure work, lease the land for the project to develop, identify and recruit tenants, and construct the first building.

Lincoln Property has been involved with many local projects, including Penn Mutual Towers and 1760 Market Street in Philadelphia, and the RiverWinds community center in West Deptford. Construction on the Tech Park is expected to start in six to 12 months, depending on the permit process.

The Technology Park is a proposed mixed-use research and academic high technology park/campus that will be developed in phases, with the first phase consisting of up to 200,000 square feet in as many as four buildings.

The University partnered with Lincoln to supplement the $6 million grant from the state’s Economic Development Authority and a $1 million contribution from the Rowan University Foundation. Under the terms of agreement, which must also be approved by officials from Lincoln Property, the South Jersey Technology Park will provide $5.8 million for construction of the campus’ first building.

The University believes the Tech Park will attract numerous high-tech companies to the area. Tthe ultimate goal is to attract high-paying jobs to South Jersey and to keep tech-savvy college graduates in the region.

County ranks in top 10 for job growth in the nation

Source: Gloucester County Times

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that Gloucester County, NJ (home to the South Jersey Technology Park) was the tenth-highest county in the nation for job growth for the period of March 2002 through March 2003. Gloucester County grew 3.4 percent over last year, while most counties saw an average negative 0.3 percent decline in their job base. According to local officials, the County’s local economy was bolstered mostly by small business entrepreneurs.

According to the report, which ranks the nation’s top 315 counties, Santa Clara County, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, experienced the largest decline in jobs—5.9 percent for the same period.