Why Camden and Its $1 Billion in Tax Breaks Isn’t Growing at Philly’s Expense


Since September 2013, when Gov. Chris Christie signed into law New Jersey’s Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the state has approved more than $2 billion in tax credits and incentives for the recruitment and retention of jobs and capital investment. A main focus of the Act was to incentivize development in economically distressed areas — especially Camden.

As a result, more than $1 billion in tax credits have been approved for companies to relocate or expand in Camden such as Holtec International, the Philadelphia 76ers, Subaru, American Water, Lockheed Martin, European Metal Recycling, and Cooper Health. (See the table below for more detail.) Read more »

$253 Million to Relocate HQ to Camden


Can New Jersey revitalize Camden with tax credits? That remains to be seen, but the state sure is trying.

New Jersey awarded one of its largest Camden tax credits Thursday to scrap metal recycler EMR Eastern LLC, which was approved for up to $252.7 million in Grow NJ tax credits over 10 years. The company had narrowed its search to Camden or its existing location in New Orleans. Read more »

Cooper River Whiskey Heads into the Wild

cooper-river-single-run-whiskey-400Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 1st, Cooper River Distillers is going to be distributing its Single Run Series Whiskey outside of the distillery for the first time. 22 bottles of the whiskey will make their way to Benash Liquors in Cherry Hill (2405 Route 38).

It is the third run Cooper River has done of whiskey and it is distilled from a base of locally brewed beer. In this case, the whiskey is distilled from Saint Benjamin’s Foul Weather Jack English Mild. We were lucky to get a taster of an earlier Single Run whiskey (made with Saint Benjamin’s IPA) and were very impressed with the results. 

Cooper River’s Single Run Whiskey is the first whiskey that has been distilled, aged, and sold in New Jersey in a long time, perhaps even since Prohibition.

But with just 22 bottles in this run, it won’t last long.

Cooper River Distillers [Foobooz]

Donkey’s Place Owner Passes Away


Robert Lucas, owner of Donkey’s Place died at age 75 | Photo via Donkey’s Place.

Robert A. Lucas, owner of Camden landmark, Donkey’s Place died Friday, at age 75. His Donkey’s Place was known for its unique cheesesteak, served under a mountain of fried onions and on a round, poppy-seeded roll.

Lucas passed away after a long fight with lung cancer. He had inherited the bar from his father, boxer Leon “Donkey” Lucas. The elder Lucas was an Olympic boxer and purchased the bar in 1943. The younger Lucas taking over the bar in the early 70s and never deviating from the simple cheesesteak that made the bar a destination.

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Renovation Plans Afoot for Vacant Warehouse Next to Ben Franklin Bridge

300 N Delaware Avenue, Camden, NJ | Image via LoopNet

The long-vacant warehouse in question. | Image via LoopNet

Hold your horses, Old City-ites. The warehouse in question is located on the other side of the Delaware River. But like several Old City properties, this Camden one comes with some history: situated across from Campbell’s Field and about a block from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the building, constructed in the late 1800s, is a former Ruby Match factory that later went on to become a Campbell’s Soup storage facility. So what’s it up to now?

Well, after being vacant for ages, the historic warehouse is in for a makeover of Laney Boggs-level proportions. The Inquirer’s Allison Steele reports Philadelphia-based real estate firm Athenian Razak has plans to transform it into a sleek office building with 71,000 square feet of ground floor retail, a conversion they say will involve a roof replacement, mezzanine addition, some 100 new windows, and the creation of two floor levels.

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Dave Grohl Will Perform in Camden Tonight From a Throne He Designed While He Was High

Foo Fighters / Dave Grohl

Photo from YouTube

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is still recovering from a broken leg he suffered at a show in Sweden last month. The accident forced him to cancel a string of subsequent performances in Europe, but now he’s stateside and raring to go again—from the safety of a throne he designed for his cast-laden leg while he was “high as f**k” on oxycontin and morphine in the hospital in Sweden.

He debuted the throne in D.C. over the weekend at a Fourth of July show. As you can see from his original sketch, it comes with all kinds of special effects, like “lasers and shit shooting from the top,” an illuminating logo,” and a base made from guitar necks and “speaker cabinet material.”

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Sixers Spat With Wells Fargo Could Prelude a Move to Camden

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

I don’t really know what to think of the Wells Fargo Center. For example, the original first sentence of this story was, “The Wells Fargo Center sucks.”

So I guess I’m leaning that way. I don’t hate it though. I’ve attended hundreds of events there. Mostly the Sixers — but also the Flyers, concerts, WWE wrestling, arena football, the Harlem Globetrotters, summer merchandise clearance sales, sneaker conventions, plus a summer interning at Comcast SportsNet’s website (where, one night at work, I watched a Britney Spears concert from the hockey press box).

There’s just nothing it does great. I’ve been attempting to come up with my favorite thing about it and the best one I can think of is, “The concourses are wider than they were at the Spectrum.” This narrowly beat out “the roast beef sandwich at the old brewpub, if they still serve them.” It doesn’t have a sense of place. It’s been named for four different banks. It’s kind of bland. It’s just at the top of a parking lot hill surrounded by fence and a highway.

The Sixers don’t like the Wells Fargo Center either, maybe for some of the same reasons I don’t. The main problem the Sixers have, though, is they don’t own the arena. Comcast Spectacor does. That means less income for the owners, which means the team is less valuable. The Sixers, then, don’t get any money from the Wells Fargo Center naming rights. As such, the Sixers have stopped referring to the Wells Fargo Center as the Wells Fargo Center.

CEO Scott O’Neil called it the arena that we play in on Twitter. “The particular bank referenced is currently not a sponsor of the Philadelphia 76ers,” a Sixers spokesperson told Biz Philly yesterday. Read more »

Company Gets $164M to Relocate to Camden


New Jersey is set to deploy even more funding to grow the Camden waterfront.

American Water Works is the latest company that could cash in, getting approval for a 10-year $164 million Grow New Jersey award from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The company has plans to build a 250,000 square foot headquarters in the troubled city. The project will bring 600 workers to Camden, along with 100 new jobs. The Vorhees, N.J.-based company has not indicated whether it will take the deal. Read more »

5 Dos and Don’ts for Flying Your Confederate Flag

The WXTU 31st anniversary concert was held over the weekend, across the river in Camden, and much of the talk following the event was about Metro’s report discussing how Confederate battle flags were much in evidence at the affair.

We like to think of ourselves as free-speech absolutists, so we don’t want to go around telling people they shouldn’t fly whatever the hell they want. Still, unless you want to be thought a total idiot, we’d suggest using the following guidelines to determine whether or not it’s really appropriate to bring a Confederate flag into Camden, New Jersey: Read more »

Bourdain Eats a Cheesesteak

donkeys-place-cheesesteak-400When Anthony Bourdain finally came to Philadelphia to film one of his TV shows, he steered clear of the city’s iconic cheesesteak. But he recently came back around these parts for an episode of his CNN show, Parts Unknown and he showed he wasn’t afraid to woof down the region’s singular sandwich.

Debuting on Sunday, May 31 at 9 p.m., this week’s episode is all about New Jersey and Bourdain makes his way to Camden for a cheesesteak from Donkey’s Place. Bourdain calls the cheesesteak “sublime” and “unbelievably good.”

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