The Cumberland County Improvement Authority recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to construct the new Food Specialization Center at the Florida Avenue Industrial Park in Bridgeton. Approximately 88 construction jobs will result from the project.
The CCIA awarded the contract to Ogren Construction of Vineland to build the 31,000-square-foot, state-of-the- art complex, which is scheduled for completion in early spring 2019.
The overall $9.2 million initiative will provide flexible spaces and technical assistance for new and expanding food production companies and create as many as 190 jobs. Local, national, and international firms are showing strong interest in leasing resources at the center, including food production and processing space, freezer and cold storage, and warehouse and docking facilities. The availability of support services such as shipping, food safety regulation, plus marketing, branding, and sales support is also drawing notice.
“Completion of this project will provide regional capacity to grow and maintain the cluster of food production companies developing their operations here,” said CCIA President and CEO Gerald Velazquez. A primary purpose of the specialization center is to provide a “landing” workplace for businesses incubated at the adjacent Rutgers University Food Innovation Center (RFIC). RFIC will continue to mentor these start-ups and other businesses with technical support resources. The new building will also provide suitable expansion space for existing growing companies and new food production and processing businesses in the region.The new Food Specialization Center will provide flexible spaces, technical assistance and other resources to food companies including those being mentored by the Rutgers Food innovation Center in Bridgeton.
During the last 20 years, the RFIC has mentored more than 100 start-ups and existing food businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding region.
“Here at the new center,” Velazquez said, “these developing food companies and others will become better positioned to locate to independent industrial space in stand-alone facilities throughout our county.”
At $18 per square foot plus utilities, CCIA projects the center will be leased prior to the completion of construction. Tenants can design spaces to precisely fit their needs.
This area of Bridgeton is quickly becoming a food-based complex. There is space available on site for future expansion of the specialization center or new construction of food-based facilities.