By Cleve Bryan
CAMDEN, Nj. (CBS) -– Construction is about midway complete on the $290 million Holtec International Technology Park along the Delaware River in Camden.
“The construction is going remarkably well,” says Ed Mayer, program director for Holtec’s Technology Center.
As many as 300 construction workers can be seen at the site along Broadway which sat empty for about half a century.
Once complete early next year Holtec with have about 400 employees in Camden with about 160 moving from their Marlton office and the rest being new positions.
“We’re hiring as many Camden residents as we can and Holtec International wants to become a catalyst for change. We’re bringing manufacturing back into Camden,” says Mayer. The company builds equipment for nuclear, solar and other types of power plants.
It is hoping to expand the product line in Camden and could add as many as 10,000 jobs over the next couple decades if all goes well.
Holtec helped lead a new wave of private investment into Camden that gets tax breaks under the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act.
The Act is designed to grow jobs and retain them in economically needy parts of the state.
Holtec, which was considering a move to South Carolina, receives $260M in tax incentives. Some people aren’t happy to see companies leave their New Jersey towns because of tax breaks in Camden.
“That kind of stinks it should be more level. I don’t think they should get tax breaks,” says Sherry Cheeseman who works at a supermarket across the street from Holtec’s Marlton office.
Holtec plans to grow a local workforce as they expand by partnering with high schools and community colleges in the area.
“So as students come out of high school or out of community college at different levels of skill we can hire them here, put them through our apprenticeship program and they can work in the city that they grew up in,” says Mayer.