There is a bright side to the Realogy Corporation's impending move from Parsippany to Madison, according to Mayor James Barberio.
"They're staying in New Jersey," he told Patch. "That is good news."
But make no mistake, news that the corporation will leave Parsippany in late 2012 or early 2013, is not music to the mayor's ears.
"I won't lie to you, it's a blow," Barberio said, noting that Realogy, which owns real estate firms and brokerages including Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and NRT, takes with it 950 employees and will leave 270,000 square feet of commercial space on Route 10 vacant. "We've got to move forward to find someone to take that space."
Realogy spokesperson Mark Panus said the move is all about economic necessity.
"The lease is expiring in 2013 and we needed a building that would better suit our needs," Panus said. "When we looked around, the location we found that met our criteria was in Madison. This moves us geographically closer to our employee base."
Panus said Realogy remains a Par-Troy fan, adding that Madison is attractive in part because it is similar to Parsippany in many ways.
"It just came down to a better fit for us in terms of the building," he explained.
Realogy, ranked No. 2 on the NJBIZ Top 100 List of Private Employers in New Jersey, considered a number of locations—including some out of state—before settling on Madison. Panus said incentives from the state Economic Development Authority were a big part of the reason the corporation decided to stay in the Garden State.
"The state EDA Business Retention and Relocation Grant and the Sales Tax and Use Exemption combined for about $12.1 million in inventives," he said. "We're subject to meeting customary conditions and benchmarks that go along with it."
Also, Panus noted that Realogy is in the real estate and relocation business and knows how difficult moving can be, especially over long distances.
"With any move, there would be challenges," he said. "In the end, when all the stars aligned, the New Jersey package was on the table and it was the best scenario for Realogy and its employees."
Looking at the big picture, Mayor Barberio said he gets that the move is good for the state.
"I applaud the governor for keeping them in New Jersey," he said. "The economy is the economy. I understand that they have to do what they have to do. We've lost companies before and we've had companies leave other places to move here.
"But absolutely, losing rateables hurts," the mayor allowed. "Still, I really believe Parsippany is the best place to do business. And we're moving forward."