EDA TAKES ACTION TO LAUNCH NJ ECONOMIC OPPORUNITY ACT OF 2013 ON NOVEMBER 18
Landmark legislation will enable State to create an even more business friendly climate
TRENTON, N.J. (November 15, 2013) — The Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) took action today to authorize the Authority to begin accepting applications for incentive programs provided under the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act, signed into law by Governor Christie on September 18, 2013. As a result, applications for the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) and the Grow NJ Assistance (Grow NJ) programs will be available from the EDA beginning November 18.
In other actions, the Board approved support for significant business expansion and urban renewal projects, including redevelopment and education initiatives.
“The ERG and Grow NJ programs will create a positive impact in terms of New Jersey’s ability to compete regionally, nationally and in the global economy,” said Michele Brown, CEO, EDA. “These incentive programs provide additional tools and will give businesses more opportunities in New Jersey.”
The ERG and Grow NJ programs accepted by the EDA Board are intended to help improve the state’s economy by stimulating new economic development and job creation including, but not limited to, certain smart growth areas and distressed municipalities. The Act merged the state’s five largest economic development incentive programs into two, while expanding the geographic boundaries and lowering eligibility thresholds for the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) and Grow NJ Assistance (Grow NJ) programs. Under the approved rules, the Grow NJ program is now the state’s main job incentive program and the ERG program is the key developer incentive program. The new rules implementing the Economic Opportunity Act also build on Governor Christie’s commitments to helping small and mid-size businesses and reclaiming New Jersey’s cities. The revised Grow NJ program lowers capital investment and employment eligibility requirements to enable more smaller businesses to qualify for incentives. The revised programs also place extra emphasis on spurring development and private sector job growth in “Garden State Growth Zones,” identified in the legislation as the four lowest median family income cities in the state: Camden, Trenton, Passaic City, and Paterson. Projects in these cities will have significantly lower eligibility thresholds and higher incentive levels.
The Board also took action to encourage capital investment in Newark. The Authority approved up to $33 million in tax credits under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (HUB) program for Two Center Street Urban Renewal, a 475,000 square foot mixed-use development located across from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). The project will transform an existing parking lot and building into a dramatic curved 22 story glass and brick tower that will include residential and retail components. The residential portion will consist of 244 rental units ranging from studios to three bedrooms, some featuring views of the Manhattan skyline and will offer amenities including a fitness center, pool, club rooms, concierge service and secured parking.
There will be 543 parking spaces, with 320 being purchased for use by Prudential Insurance Company of America and the nearly 15,000 square foot retail component will accommodate up to five tenants. Two Center Street expects to complete all pre-construction activities by June 30, 2014 followed by a construction period of approximately 24 months. The $33 million tax credit award will leverage $106 million in investment and result in the estimated creation of up to 200 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs.
Also in Newark, the Board continued support for education programs in the Brick City and approved bonds for three school expansion projects. Kingston Educational Holdings 1, Inc. was approved for a $40 million taxable Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB). In conjunction with TEAM Academy Charter Schools, the bond proceeds will be used to acquire 2.25 acres, demolish an existing building and construct a new school at 129 Littleton Avenue that will ultimately serve as a TEAM high school and serve 600 students.
Uncommon Properties III, LLC, acting on behalf of the North Star Academy Charter Schools of Newark, Inc. (NSA), applied for separate QSCB approvals for two projects within the network, totaling $40 million. The first, for $6 million, is designated for acquisition of the property and renovations to a NSA Downtown Middle School and High School at 559 Broad Street. The second, for $34 million, would enable Uncommon Properties to acquire land and undertake extensive renovations at the NSA Vailsburg Elementary and Middle School, located on Hazelwood Avenue.
In support of the Christie Administration’s focus on job creation, the Board approved incentives for three businesses in Union, Middlesex and Ocean counties to support potential expansions that will enlarge their footprints and increase employment.
In Union County, the Authority approved a $12 million Grow NJ tax credit for Mastertaste, Inc. over 10 years, to support expansion of its manufacturing facility. Mastertaste is a world leader in food ingredients and flavors serving the food and beverage industry. Support was requested to expand the company’s manufacturing facility in Clark into an adjacent vacant building and add 200 new jobs as part of the company’s plans to relocate manufacturing jobs from other states. The project is anticipated to generate an approximate $56 million net benefit to the state over the 15 years that the company would be committed to keep jobs here. The company’s alternative is to locate the project in Lakeland, Florida.
Tipico Products, a Lakewood-based cheese wholesaler, was approved for an approximate $146,000 Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) to expand its facility in Lakewood and create 30 new jobs. Tipico is considering acquiring the assets of a Wisconsin cheese manufacturer and combining operations in one location or investing in a new processing line. In addition to its current location in Ocean County, the company is considering a facility in Bensalem, Pa.
In Middlesex County, Grant Thornton LLP, an audit, tax and advisory firm in Edison was approved for a $821,000 BEIP grant over 10 years to support its expansion in its current location and the addition of 34 jobs. The alternative location for the expansion would be Long Island. The Board approved a $992,142 direct loan to Procedyne Corporation, an engineering and equipment manufacturing company that has been located in New Brunswick for more than 50 years. The loan will support the company’s purchase of equipment to expand its capacity to meet anticipated additional demand for services. Procedyne currently employs 45 individuals and 10 construction jobs are anticipated as part of the expansion.
EDA core programs continued to provide support for small businesses around the state. The New Jersey Business Growth Fund assisted Woodbury Investments, of Woodbury City, Gloucester County, in its purchase of commercial real estate. Through the Small Business Fund Program, Business Automation Technologies, Inc. of Newark, was approved for a $71,888 direct loan to purchase new equipment and upgrade overall capacity of its internet and voice products services.
Interest from investors in the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program continues and proposed tax credits of $278,122.50 were awarded based on nine investments totaling $2,781,225. Princeton Power Systems of Lawrenceville Township, a developer of intelligent power electronic equipment used for renewable energy products, received the bulk of the investor funds at $1.9 million and Edge Therapeutics, a private, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, located in New Providence, generated $806,225 from angel investors.
Supporting Governor Christie’s commitment to the recovery of businesses and communities in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the EDA approved grants for $500,000 to each of four Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), as part of the Stronger NJ Business Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program. The Board also approved a $4 million Stronger NJ Business loan to Thunderball Marketing, in Avenel, NJ.
Mindful of the extensive power outages across the state caused by Superstorm Sandy that left liquid fuel pumps and points of sale systems at many retail fuel stations inoperable, the Board approved the Program Guidelines for the Retail Fuel Station-Energy Resiliency Program (RFS-ERP). The voluntary program will provide incentives to selected gas stations to allow for the installation of electric generators to help owners/operators of retail fuel stations enhance their operational resiliency.
EDA Board meetings are typically held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 36 West State Street in Trenton. The Board meeting schedule, as well as Board agendas and minutes, are available at www.njeda.com. All Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).