By Will Morey, Freeholder
There’s no doubt about the importance of Cape May County’s “anchor” industries, such as tourism and fishing. However, we’ve long known that other industries are needed to diversify our local economy, to support our residents and to make year-round life more livable in the county. For decades, local leaders have asserted the need for and discussed ways to bring in other industries to work alongside our tourism businesses.
I’m delighted that, due to the persistence and hard work of a talented team, new industries in Cape May County are no longer just a dream; they are here! Headed west on Breakwater Road in Lower Township, you may have seen new buildings under construction and now standing proudly at the Cape May County Airport. These striking modern structures, which resemble airport hangars, comprise our new Tech Village, and are home to Cape May County’s burgeoning technology sector. We broke ground on these buildings in spring of 2019; two companies are now fully moved into two of the “Hangars” as of June 2020, and an additional two are poised to move in this fall.
For me, it’s been really exciting to see – technology is, of course, a broad sector, and companies new to the county are working on a wide array of tasks, including creating tracking devices for migratory birds and other animals (Cellular Tracking Technologies) and automated library systems (D-Tech). The possibilities for the types of technology businesses and projects that can be accomplished in Cape May County are endless!
Despite having just completed construction in May, the Tech Village campus is over fifty percent leased already and companies housed there are providing approximately 40 new, high-paying jobs available for Cape May County residents. We expect this “new jobs” number to be closer to 75 when this first phase is fully leased, but we’re not stopping there; we’re working on phase two of the project to break ground by September 2021.
To attract industries to the County, not only do we need to create a favorable environment for their businesses, we also need to let those industries know that we are here and tell them about the specific benefits of our region. To this end, we created the Coastal Shift marketing campaign, which emphasizes Cape May County’s amazing quality of life and business-friendly environment. We’re working hand in hand with the DRBA (the airports operator) on this project as we expect it to benefit the airport business park as well. You can check out the Coastal Shift campaign materials in their development phase here.
In my role as Freeholder as well as in my business dealings, I find that both cultivating a strong vision and committing to an honest, “roll-up-your-sleeves” work ethic by the team are critically important factors to making durable change. Over the past few years, with the full support of the Freeholder Board, I’ve worked hard with my colleagues in Cape May County government and leaders in the private sector to move us out of the phase of imagining and brainstorming about new industries in Cape May County, and into making it happen.
This effort is making a difference today and holds great promise for all residents of our county.
Ordered and paid for by the CMCRRO, 2123 Dune Drive, Avalon, NJ 08202.