Translate
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
Soundcloud

ASPIRE PROGRAM


Aspire is a gap financing tool to support commercial, mixed use, and residential real estate development projects that replaces the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant (ERG).

ELIGIBILITY

  • To be eligible for Aspire support, a project must:
  • Demonstrate through NJEDA analysis that without the incentive award, the redevelopment project is not economically feasible.
  • Demonstrate that a project financing gap exists and/or the redevelopment project will generate a below market rate of return.
  • Be located in a designated “Incentive Area.”
  • Include developer who has an equity participation of at least 20 percent of the total cost.
  • Result in a net positive benefit to the State.
  • Meet specific cost thresholds, depending on where the project is located.

AWARD SIZE

Aspire will be subject to an annual program cap of $32 million for most projects and $50 million for projects in targeted areas. Individual project awards will be capped at 45 percent of development costs for most projects and 50 percent of development costs for commercial projects in targeted areas.  

FISCAL AND RESIDENT PROTECTIONS

To demonstrate local support for the project, the developer must have letter of support for project from governing body of municipality and must enter into a Community Benefits Agreement or a Redevelopment Agreement with the municipality. 

The full statutory text of the program can be found in sections 54-67 of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020.

Incentive Areas

Eligible “Incentive Areas” are areas designated pursuant to the “State Planning Act” P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.), as Planning Area 1 (Metropolitan) OR Planning Area 2 (Suburban) or a Designated Center located within a one-half mile radius of the mid-point, with bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, of a New Jersey Transit Corporation, Port Authority Transit Corporation, or Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation rail, bus, or ferry station, including all light rail stations, or a high frequency bus stop as certified by the New Jersey Transit Corporation.  

Cost Thresholds

Minimum project costs for Aspire are based on the population of the municipality where the project is taking place.

Municipality PopulationMinimum Total Project Cost
Population < 200,000$10 million
Population > 200,000$17.5 million

Projects that are located in a Qualified Incentive Tract or Government Restricted Municipality have a minimum project costs of $5 million.

Targeted Areas

Aspire project awards caps are increased to $50 million or 50 percent of project costs for commercial projects in Qualified Incentive Tracts, Government Restricted Municipalities, or municipalities with a Municipal Revitalization Index of 50 or less.

Transformative Project Criteria

Projects that meet certain criteria can be designated as “Transformative Projects.” These projects can receive awards up to $350 million or 30 percent of project costs, up to a total program cap of $2.5 billion. No more than two Transformative Project awards can be made within a single municipality. Primarily retail projects are not eligible for Transformative Project awards.

To be designated as a Transformative Project, a project must:

To be designated as a Transformative Project, a project must involve a minimum investment of $100 million and include renovation or construction of more than 500,000 square feet of office or industrial space; 250,000 square feet of film production space; or 1,000 residential units if it does not include any commercial component.

If a project  includes a minimum of 100,000 square of commercial space, it may also qualify as a transformative project if it includes:

  • At least 250 units in a GRM
  • At least 350 units in an Enhanced Area
  • At least 600 units in any other eligible Incentive Area