With the upcoming departure of Roche Pharmaceuticals, Nutley will lose its largest single taxpayer as well as some 1,000 jobs. Township planners are scrambling to find a suitable buyer for the 127-acre property. They certainly have their work cut out for them – especially if they intend to keep job replacement as high a priority as their ever-pressing need to secure a ratable.
If recent history is used as a predictor, however, those 1,000 jobs have likely gone the way of the Dodo. When a major concern like Roche packs it in these days, the search for a replacement is often a fruitless one. When and if another business supplants it, it’s all too often in the form a storage firm – the one industry where large vacant buildings aren’t perceived as losing investments or “white elephants.”
The trouble is such businesses employ very few people. In this regard, they represent a microcosm of the U.S.A. in 2012. Production and manufacturing jobs have all but left America – that’s no secret. So it will take an extraordinary effort, and more than a little creativity by Nutley’s Board of Commissioners to turn this thing around. Are they up to the task? For Nutley’s sake, I certainly hope so.