Corrections or additions?
(This article by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
December 2, 1998. All rights reserved.)
Getting Cozy with Rutgers
Propinquity can be important. Or as those in the real
estate business like to say: What’s vital is "location, location,
That’s also true for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority,
which happens to be in the real estate business. It owns a 50-acre
research park, Technology Centre of New Jersey (TCNJ), located on
Route 1 South in North Brunswick, practically adjacent to Rutgers’
Cook Campus. When the EDA took over this property, there were some
existing buildings, and the EDA is building more. It leased the first
new building to Merial Ltd, but it needs tenants for a 60,000
building now under construction.
"We recognize that these companies can become the Microsofts of
tomorrow," says Gualberto Medina, commerce commissioner.
So in an effort to attract tenants to its high tech campus, the EDA
is playing to its strength — the nearness of the Technology Center
to Rutgers University. Emerging technology businesses that are tenants
at the center, says the EDA’s director Caren Franzini, can tap
the resources of Rutgers on a fee-for-use basis. In other words, they
can use laboratories, libraries, and scientific equipment, and they
can also interact with Rutgers researchers.
EDA’s announcement about this, made at a press conference in October,
sounds enticing. Francis L. Lawrence, the president of Rutgers,
talked about how productive partnerships between Rutgers, government
agencies, and the New Jersey business community "are important
to the health and vitality of the state economy and to our ability
to help educate the highly skilled work force of the future."
The flaw in this hoop-de-lah is that partnerships between Rutgers
and high tech businesses are already in place. You don’t have to be
a tenant at EDA’s campus to get Rutgers to work with you. The flaw
was illustrated by the fact that the three poster-child companies
featured at the press conference were not Tech Centre tenants but
were trotted out as examples of the kind of benefits that they are
already getting from Rutgers:
collaborates with the laboratory of Ilya Raskin of Rutgers
Center to discover and manufacture biologically active compounds from
live plants (609-835-1600).
Rutgers’ Center for Ceramic Research to find ways to safely contain
high-level radioactive waste in five-inch thick cylinders without
seams. Matthew J. O’Connor, president and CEO of NUCON, is
Rutgers $500,000 for two years of consultations and is considering
a move to New Jersey.
drug discovery company based in Bridgewater, has its labs at Cook
Campus under the direction of Jeffrey D. White, president and
chief scientific officer, and Gordon Ramseier, of the Sage Group
as board chairman. It has seed capital from Ronald R. Hahn of
Early Stage Enterprises LP, based on Route 206. It is developing drugs
with applications in endocrine and metabolic type diseases, such as
obesity and diabetes.
Admittedly, the nearness of the Tech Centre will make
linking with Rutgers much easier. With the campus so close,
will be easier for interns and grad students to work at a tenant firm,
and tenants can take advantage of continuing education programs,
events, and conferences. Tenants would be able to rent such high tech
equipment as electron microscopes and magnetic resonance imaging
and they could tap into animal health care services. Though anyone
can use the walk-in resources of the libraries, tenants could get
support from the professional librarians. They might find an
to do contract research jointly with university faculty.
More tangible benefits of being at the Tech Centre include base rent
of $25 per square foot plus a $100 per foot improvement allowance
and a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. This program aims
to control the rate of growth in property taxes that the tenants pay.
Tenants can also vie for NJEDA’s bond financing, loan guarantees,
direct loans, and such financial incentives as preferential, lower
interest rate financing for second stage companies with products and
services to sell but little traditional collateral.
For instance, the Technology Funding program offers loans of from
$100,000 to $3 million, with banks providing 75 percent of the loan
at market rate and the EDA providing the rest at a below-market fixed
rate. It can also guarantee up to 50 percent of the bank’s monies.
A $3 million Seed Capital Program offers loans of $25,000 to $200,000
to first-stage companies with a product that has a good chance for
commercialization. The five-year loans have a fixed interest of 5
to 7 percent, and part of the flexible repayment terms can be
Again, any company anywhere in New Jersey can apply for these
but it is safe to say that if you are a NJEDA tenant your application
would probably rest on the top of the pile. Recall that other favorite
saying: "it’s not what you know but who you know."
— Barbara Fox
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