Washington selects firm to be business coordinator

Township Committee voted unanimously to pay Eric Bram & Co. $75,000 to find businesses to locate in the township.

By: Mark Moffa
   WASHINGTON — The Township Committee last week selected a firm to be its economic development coordinator.
   The committee voted unanimously to pay Eric Bram & Co. $75,000 to find businesses to locate in the township. The contract is for nine months. Bram is a New America International company based in East Brunswick.
   The committee reviewed proposals from Bram and another corporate real estate group in executive session at its May 23 meeting, before choosing Bram.
   Washington officials are looking to attract businesses to the township to lessen the impact of property tax increases for residents. The Boyd Company Inc. of Princeton submitted the other proposal.
   The client list for Bram includes National Freight, Bristol-Myers Squibb, R&S Strauss, General Electric, Wegmans Food Market, and Barnes & Noble.
   Jonathan Gross, a Washington resident who is vice president of the company, pitched the proposal to the Township Committee. Mr. Gross is a Planning Board member, although he said he would step down if he was contracted to work for the township.
   Mr. Gross told the committee his firm will establish and coordinate polices relating to attracting new business, inform executives of the benefits of locating in Washington, and serve as a liaison on behalf of the township to the business community.
   Washington, Mr. Gross said, can take advantage of the increased traffic likely to result from retail growth to its north and south. Although many residents find increased traffic a hassle, Mr. Gross said it needs to be used to the township’s advantage to draw commercial development along Route 130.
   John Boyd, president of the Boyd Company, said his agency would have sought to generate corporate interest for Washington. The program suggested by the firm would have been a nationwide search for suitable businesses for the township. The group would have charged $100,000 for a year’s service.
   Boyd’s plan to promote Washington would have involved field research — including interviews with area employers, an inspection of available sites and a review of labor market demographics.
   The Boyd Company, founded 27 years ago, counts among its clients Time Inc., Pratt & Whitney, PepsiCo, and Chase Manhattan Bank.