Cranes, picks, and shovels are everywhere in Camden these days, as private developers pile into the impoverished city — drawn by redevelopment projects and $2 billion worth of incentives from the state’s Grow NJ program.
A linchpin project is turning 25 acres on Camden’s waterfront into the corporate headquarters for American Water Works, along with a hotel, offices, and residences.
To earn tax credits under the Grow NJ program, companies must maintain a certain number of employees. But critics wonder whether areas outside the downtown and waterfront development zones will see any of the gains. They charge that the incentive deals are too generous because they involve relocating high-paying jobs from nearby towns without requiring companies to commit to a community benefit agreement.
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