By Cleve Bryan


CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Subaru of America’s former headquarters is facing the wrecking ball. Demolition has begun on the 33-year-old building in Cherry Hill.

It has stood vacant since last April, when Subaru moved its headquarters to a new facility in Camden. Floor by floor, Subaru’s former Cherry Hill headquarters is no more.

“I grew up in the area, so to me, it doesn’t seem like it’s that old of a building and now they’re taking it down,” Cherry Hill resident Joe Campbell said.

Subaru says they weren’t satisfied with the offers they received for the old building, so they’ll try to sell the 14-acre lot.

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Subaru addressed the demolition in a statement.

“With our relocation to Camden, the building is no longer of use to Subaru or to prospective future users of the property. In order to protect the curb-appeal of the property, particularly given its prominence and high visibility along Route 70, we elected to take the building down.”

Blows of the political nature have been coming at companies like Subaru that used the Grow NJ tax incentive program to build in Camden. Gov. Phil Murphy has a task force looking for fraud and frivolous spending by that state agency that doled out $11 billion in corporate tax breaks, including more than $1.5 billion in Camden.

“If not for these incentives, none of the progress would have been made in Camden,” freeholder director Louis Cappelli said.

Cappelli and other Camden Democrats are engaged in a political war of words with Murphy over the tax incentives, as the task force has singled out tax breaks in Camden.

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“The renaissance of Camden City has been an international story — crime rate, poverty rate at the lowest in decades, graduation rate highest in decades — but this kind of puts a wet blanket over it all,” Cappelli said.

Camden leaders, including the Norcross family, which is linked to a large share of the tax breaks, are looking for a chance to address allegations of corruption and cronyism.

“If somebody has done something wrong, then the state should act accordingly,” Cappelli said. “This task force is a joke.”

Subaru says the demolition is scheduled to conclude in June and they plan to recycle about 75% of the materials at the site.