The choir was singing. The crowd was seated. Cue the unveiling of Subaru of America’s new corporate headquarters in Camden.
“In this area initially we’re going to have 600 people moving in, we can have up to 900 people into this building. Our commitment is to hire 100 people,” Subaru of America CEO, Thomas Doll.
Subaru of America is the latest major company to choose the city of Camden as its home. Doll says it was actually Campbell’s Soup, which has had a presence in the city for 149 years, that approached them.
“They had actually purchased a lot of the surrounding land and as a result they had this 14/15 acre piece of property that was available,” explained Doll.
“We have a vision with Knight’s Crossing and at the Gateway District to bring in more corporations to Camden. Bring in more jobs and economic growth to the whole community,” added Denise Morrison, president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company.
But the $118 million they received in tax credits might have been another incentive.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has used tax credits to entice companies like Holtec International, Lockheed Martin and the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for them to relocate to Camden. The companies have also committed to at least 15 years in the area and they must retain or create at least 250 jobs. The mayor of Camden says they want to make the process easy for companies.
“It’s good government,” said Frank Moran, the city’s mayor. “It’s looking at the opportunity to build Camden up and the importance of the elected officials knowing you must play a key role in making sure that we usher these things through, because it’s a positive impact on the community.”
Subaru’s CEO says they’ve already given over $2 million in just the last two years to charitable organization in the city.
Camden’s schools have also benefited. The deputy superintendent said Subaru committed $100,000 to pay for 4-year scholarships and laptop computers for 22 graduating students last year. And they plan to do the same this year.
“We’ve had some students who are teen mothers who have become pregnant early on and had the added responsibility of caring for their own children. We have students who have been homeless, who have to deal with being displaced. We have students with parents who have opioid addictions,” said Katrina McCombs, Camden School District’s deputy superintendent.
Subaru also gave teaching supplies and materials to every single teacher at one school in the city that had to relocate buildings due to flooding.
“It helps the students to know that there are people outside of their school community who care about their success and their future,” said McCombs
A future that may be brighter with a new wave of companies revitalizing the city.
“It’s promise in Camden, it’s opportunity in Camden and we’re excited about it. Camden continues to rise and everyone is understanding in playing a role,” said Moran.
As the billboard nearby says, “more love is coming to Camden.”