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NEWARK, NJ-Right after 9/11, securities industry regulators released a “White Paper” outlining contingency planning guidelines for financial firms, a document that in effect requires them to have sufficient back-up facilities outside of New York in case of a major emergency. Now, five key groups in New Jersey have hooked up to help expedite those guidelines in the Garden State.

Called “The White Paper Consortium,” the alliance is made up of some very heavy hitters. Two of them are key players in the real estate community–the Florham Park, NJ-based Gale Co., which has a portfolio of more than 50 million sf; and the New Jersey office of Cushman & Wakefield, East Rutherford.

Two other participants are utilities: Newark-based PSE&G is the state’s largest electric and gas provider, and telecom giant Verizon deploys some 1.4 million fiber miles in New Jersey. The fifth participant is the New Jersey Commerce & Economic Growth Commission, a state agency.

“The consortium will provide one-stop shopping for firms looking for back-up sites by assisting in the location, construction or modification of facilities, evaluating the infrastructure necessary to support emergency recovery facilities and identifying available business incentives,” explains Mark Yeager, president and chief investment officer for the Gale Co. “This alliance brings together partners that each add a dimension to the support services necessary to help companies with their back-up site selection decisions.”

The consortium plan focuses on four goals for meeting the federal securities industry mandate. They include supporting firms that may already have such facilities in the state, facilitating less stringent statutes in meeting the federal requirements, working to prevent the erosion of the financial services sector in the region and generally providing the expertise for development of contingency facilities in the Garden State.

In that respect, while the consortium specifically addresses federal disaster recovery guidelines, it also doubles as an economic development effort for the state. “New Jersey is an ideal location for such facilities, because it allows firms to strike a balance between these competing objectives,” says Gil Medina, director of C&W’s Technology Enterprise Group, plugging Garden State locations. “Back-up sites in New Jersey are sufficiently close to New York to allow companies to realize economies of agglomeration while creating enough logistical support.”

One selling point for the consortium: New Jersey’s water, power and telecom systems operate independently of New York’s infrastructure, “yet the telecommunications and transportation systems are integrated with New York’s,” concludes C&W senior managing director and branch manager, Christopher Kinum.

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