FLORENCE: Burlington Coat Factory eyes township for its new headquarters

By Julie Asher, Special Writer
   FLORENCE — People in town are celebrating the likelihood of Burlington Coat Factory building its new corporate headquarters on land it already owns within the municipality.
   ”It’s a great day in Florence,” said Mayor Craig Wilkie on June 13 at the Township Council meeting.
   The Burlington Coat Factory intends to build its new headquarters in Florence Township, according to the mayor. The national retailer is looking to build its new 180,000 square-foot corporate headquarters on 50 acres of undeveloped land in Florence along the Route 130 corridor, close to its current headquarters at 1830 Route 130 in Burlington.
   On June 12, Burlington Coat Factory, which owns property in Florence, was awarded by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) more than $40 million in tax credits, over the next 10 years, to stay in Burlington County. The company had previously expressed interest in relocating that the company relocate to Bensalem Pa.
   EDA’s board also approved $1.2 million in sales tax exemptions. These credits make it feasible to construct a multi story building on this part of the Route 130 corridor according to officials.
   Richard Brook, Florence Township’s Administrator said that The Burlington Coat Factory is now in the process of gathering information and assembling their team to help them through this project. There’s a plethora of foundational issues to address such as parking and stormwater management.
   He said that no conceptual plan has been made, but the project is expected to move forward quickly. Hopefully the company can break ground before the winter, but certainly by spring 2013.
   According to the Burlington County Freeholders, this new facility would represent the first Class-A office building in this part of the corridor and would continue the revitalization efforts that Burlington County and corridor communities initiated over 17 years ago.
   Last week Bruce Garganio, director of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, said, “This is a real win that’s going to keep a good business with good paying jobs here.”
   If this development in Florence transpires, it is expected to bring 120 new full-time jobs and maintain the more than 600 existing jobs within Burlington County, according to officials. Furthermore, construction on the corporate headquarters is expected to create more than 350 construction jobs. Also, the company’s extensive warehouse in Edgewater Park is expected to stay open.
   The Burlington Coat Factory Company originated in Burlington City.