Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

South Jersey Times – State and Cumberland County Officials gathered Thursday to break ground on a new $10 million food specialization center in Bridgeton. The 31,280-square-foot facility will be used to house food production companies.

The building will be behind the current Rutgers Food Innovation Center located on East Broad Street in Bridgeton and have the chance to be expanded to 60,000 square feet if needed. Officials are hoping that the center attracts businesses that have just completed the Rutgers “incubator” program or becomes a destination for food businesses to create or manufacture products.

Cumberland County Improvement Authority CEO and President Gerry Velasquez said during the ceremony that four businesses are already in negotiations to move into the center.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher and Senate President Steve Sweeney were involved with getting the funding for the Rutgers Innovation center and it’s created a lot of jobs from not only this area but for around the world. DRSchar, which has a production facility in Gloucester County, started at the innovation center.

“This is the addition they need,” Sweeney said. “You need companies to have roots. Once a company establishes roots for three or four years, they are not going to leave. That’s why this was a great next step. I give the Freeholders of Cumberland County a lot of credit for having the vision because it is step one. Step two is having the big manufacturing centers here.”

Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella mentioned that projects such as the food specialization center were created through relationships and partnerships involving state representatives all the way down through municipalities.

“This is just one of the positive steps forward to create that positive atmosphere for economic development,” Derella said. “Most successful programs that we looked at in other areas of the state and other parts of the country have incubation opportunities because small businesses have a product, they learn how to develop it but they are not ready to move beyond a huge facility. As you grow, you start to look for a better opportunity and hopefully, it stays here in Cumberland County or somewhere in Southern New Jersey. The regional impact is what we are after.”

Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly is looking forward to the 200 anticipated jobs that the center is expected to bring to the city.

“You see an idea become a vision and now becomes a reality. I’m happy for the citizens of Bridgeton because they now see some physical improvements that we have long been talking about coming to fruition. I’m happy for our residents.”

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626