EDA announces grant programs for certain businesses in growth zones

By Lynda Cohen
New Jersey | Oct 4, 2017 at 7:45 am

Two new programs will offer grants to street-level businesses in designated Garden State Growth Zones like Trenton, Atlantic City and Camden, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced Tuesday.

The Business Lease Incentive and Business Improvement Incentive programs are designed to support the growth of new and expanding retail and service businesses in targeted commercial corridors.

In Trenton, businesses located in the downtown Broad Street and State Street business corridors are considered eligible.

“Programs administered under the (Economic Opportunity Act) and initiatives like the State Office Building project are designed to help attract private investment in Trenton, which could be the impetus for growth in surrounding business hubs,” EDA CEO Melissa Orsen said. “The BLI and BII programs serve as a complement to these efforts, as they help to position small businesses to capitalize on the increased activity.”

The State Office Building project includes reducing the state footprint in downtown Trenton to pave the way for new private investment along Warren and Market streets.

The lease program will offer reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for at least five years.

An applicant leasing more than 5,000 square feet would be eligible, but the BLI grant would only cover the first 5,000 square feet.

The BLI program application is available at www.njeda.com/bli.

The improvement program will offer grants of as much as half of total project costs, up to $20,000 for businesses operating within the first floor of a commercial corridor in growth zones that are planning to make building improvements, with a minimum project cost of $5,000.

The BII program application is available at www.njeda.com/bii.

“Opportunities for small businesses in Trenton are plentiful due to renewed efforts to revitalize downtown and drive foot traffic in key commercial corridors — both during regular business hours and into the evenings and weekends,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said. “These programs could give business owners the extra boost they need to start a new business in Trenton, or refresh or expand an existing business.”

The EDA worked with each community to ensure the programs, developed in collaboration with the GSGZs, meet the needs of the respective local markets. The programs have been launched on a pilot basis, and as much as $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs.

For general program question, contact EDA Senior Community Development Officer Christina Fuentes at 609-858-6663 or cfuentes@njeda.com.

For more information on eligible locations in Trenton, businesses are encouraged to contact the city’s economic development specialist, Eric Maywar, at 609-989-3529 or emaywar@trentonnj.org.