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Garden State Growth Zone - Business Lease Incentive

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The Garden State Growth Zone (GSGZ) Business Lease Incentive (BLI) offers reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payments to for profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 – 5,000 s.f. of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum 5-year term.
  • Incentive

    Reimbursement of 15% of annual lease payment (for 2 years of a 5 or 10-year lease)

  • Terms

    Applicant must be planning to lease between 500 s.f. – 5,000 s.f. of first-floor, market-rate office, industrial and retail space in an eligible area for a minimum 5-year term.

    Additional terms apply. See program requirements below.

  • Benefits

    Goal of the program is to enhance the vibrancy of commercial corridors through business attraction and retention in five Garden State Growth Zones (Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton.)

  • Eligible Areas

    EDA worked with the cities to identify eligible areas that are consistent with existing redevelopment plans or zoning ordinances.

    Please see program information below for description and maps detailing eligible areas.

Incentive Type and Amount:

Reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payment (for 2 years of a 5 or 10-year lease) administered as follows:

  • Year 1: 15% of annual lease payment
  • Year 2: 15% of annual lease payment

The BLI payment, when combined with any other governmental grants received by the applicant, cannot exceed 80% of the annual lease payment.

Program Requirements:

  • A limit of one BLI will be approved per applicant (or related entity) over the 3-year life of the pilot program.  Applicants that have been approved for a GSGZ Business Improvement Incentive are not eligible for a BLI, and vice versa.
  • Applicant must be planning to lease between 500 s.f. – 5,000 s.f. of new or additional first-floor, market-rate office, industrial and retail space in the GSGZ for a minimum 5-year term.  As this is an incentive program, no award will be made for leased space that has already been executed prior to application.  
  • An entity leasing more than 5,000 s.f. is eligible for a BLI, but only the first 5,000 s.f. of space will be reimbursed.
  • Applicants or related entities operating within a facility that has received incentives through Grow NJ or ERG are not eligible.
  • Applicant must certify that they are not in default of any other EDA financing.
  • High Tech and Business Incubator members in Not for Profit facilities would not be eligible for independent lease incentives (operators are eligible.)

Funding Disbursement:

The GSGZ BLI Program is a performance-based incentive program.  This means that no funding is immediately disbursed upon application approval, but rather until evidence is demonstrated that the grant terms have been met.  This includes:

  • Certification from the landlord that the lease agreement is not in monetary or material default and that the applicant occupied and operated from the location for the full year under which reimbursement is being requested.
  • Certification that the BLI, when combined with other governmental grants, does not exceed 80% of annual lease payment.

Eligible Areas:

EDA has worked with the five GSGZ cities to determine areas within the city that are eligible for the incentive.  Please contact the GSGZ Program Representative listed at the bottom of the page to determine if your project location is eligible.


  • $500 Application Fee for For-Profit Entities
  • $250 Application Fee for Not-for-Profit Entities
  • Annual Administrative Fee equal to 1% of the Annual Lease Incentive

* All fees are non-refundable.

Division of Taxation Tax Clearance Certificate required.  Certificates may be requested through the State of New Jersey’s Premier Business Services (PBS) portal online.

  • Under the Tax & Revenue Center, select Tax Services, then select Business Incentive Tax Clearance.
  • If the applicant’s account is in compliance with its tax obligations and no liabilities exist, the Business Incentive Tax Clearance can be printed directly through PBS.

Please note:  It is the applicant/client’s responsibility to maintain a current and clear tax clearance certificate.  If a current and clear certificate is not evidenced to EDA at time of application, EDA will not proceed with approval.

Garden State Growth Zone Program Representatives:

If you have any questions about the program or eligibility in your area, please first contact the following representative from your  city.  These representatives must also review and certify any application for completeness prior to EDA considering the application for approval. Upon completion of application review, the GSGZ representative will provide the applicant a password that will allow the applicant to proceed with submitting their application to EDA through the online application.  

General Program Questions:

Christina Fuentes
EDA Senior Community Development Officer

City-Specific Questions:

Atlantic City:

James M. Rutala, PP, AICP, MBA


Joe Thomas 
Economic Development Rep.
Department of Development and Planning 
520 Market Street, City Hall – Suite 218
Camden NJ, 08101


Soraya Stam
UEZ Coordinator-City of Passaic
330 Passaic Street
Passaic, NJ 07055


Penni Forestieri - UEZ Director 
125 Ellison Street, 4th Floor
Paterson, NJ  07505
973-321-1220 Office


Eric Maywar, Economic Development Specialist
City of Trenton 
319 East State Street  


GSGZ BLI/BII Program Brochure