It’s official. In four years, a Holtec International plant manufacturing nuclear reactor parts will occupy 47 acres of land along the Delaware River in Camden.
Initially it will provide 395 jobs – 160 retained from its current headquarters in Evesham, N.J., and 235 new ones. That’s the minimum required to receive $260 million in guaranteed state tax credits over the next decade.
Holtec says it will cost $260 million to build the plant.
CEO Krishna Singh expects that after five years of operation, the company will have added 3,000 more jobs.
“The application says 400 jobs before your tax credit begins, so of course we committed the minimum amount,” said Singh. “We wouldn’t commit to what we really expect to do because we want the credit to begin.”
Asked if there was a number of jobs set aside specifically for Camden residents, Singh said there would be a plan set up with local schools to bring students in as they graduate and put them in a training program.
“In Camden, you’re not going to get a lot of people who are already trained,” said Singh “We will make a continuous, sustained effort to train people and bring them into our workforce.”
Camden Mayor Dana Redd says a customized job-training program for residents would be announced later this month with the New Jersey Department of Labor.
“The guarantee is that I’ve made a commitment to work with my residents for workforce readiness, job training, skill development, job placement and retention,” said Redd. “Local hires is something very important to me as the mayor.”
Gov. Chris Christie and State Sen. Donald Norcross were both on hand to salute the largest single investment of private capital in Camden history.
“It’s going to be the decisions of the people of this city, the ones who currently live here and the ones that will come to live here, as to what type of city they want to have,” said Christie, who despite being a Republican has been heavily involved in this very blue city. “What we’re going to provide them with is the opportunity to have the best city they could possibly have.”
Providing that opportunity comes with a price tag.
Holtec was courted by several states that wanted the new plant and the accompanying jobs.
New Jersey won the bidding war with the third largest tax-credit incentive ever granted by the state Economic Development Authority.
Singh joked that he liked New Jersey weather, but admitted the company wouldn’t have gone any place that wasn’t offering incentives.
“Gov. Christie stepped forward, he made that happen,” said Singh. “Clearly this was a big factor.”
Singh says the “assistance program” will fund about half of Holtec’s total expenditures, which he said could be double the $260 million estimated cost to build the plant.