EDA making money available (up to $50K) for redevelopment of struggling suburban office parks

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is making money available to help one of the biggest development issues in the state: revitalizing abandoned or struggling suburban office parks.

On Thursday, the EDA board agreed to set aside $250,000 for the 21st Century Redevelopment Program.

Applicants pledging to use the money on such office parks can get up to $50,000 per qualified project. Each applicant must provide a 20 percent match to the funding.

Each applicant must be either a redevelopment agency, municipality or county. The space in question must be at least 750,000 square feet or 25 percent vacant for retail, or 75,000 square feet or 20 percent vacant for three years for office parks.

“A number of demographic and economic trends are reshaping where people in New Jersey live and work, with the suburbs experiencing an outmigration of jobs and population similar to those that cities have experienced,” according to documents provided by the EDA.

“Empty corporate campuses, underutilized malls and shopping centers, and vacant office buildings left behind by the 1980-1990s building boom have become a drain on many New Jersey communities.”

The 21st Century Redevelopment Program was just one of a number of programs the EDA approved in an effort to spur the economy.

The EDA also approved initiatives to provide a boost to the innovation sector, including a second round of the Innovation Challenge Program, which received an overwhelming response to its pilot effort over the summer.

The EDA also approved regulations and procedures for the Offshore Wind Economic Development Tax Credit Program, which is aimed at the infrastructure needed to develop offshore wind energy.

The goal of the credit is for the manufacturing process, rather than focusing on the offshore turbines themselves, according to the EDA.

The rules authorize the EDA to approve up to $100 million in tax credits for a company, which must qualify by making at least $50 million in new capital investments in a qualified wind energy facility, employ at least 300 new full-time employees and apply before July 1, 2024.

Also discussed and approved at the meeting was a transfer of an agreement of redevelopment of a 36-acre parcel in Tinton Falls from the EDA to RWJBarnabas Health for its proposed medical campus.

The EDA had previously worked with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority to work to redevelop the area, because of the EDA’s experience with large-scale demolition and redevelopment, according to EDA documents.

Since RWJBarnabas has proposed the $8 million campus, the existing agreements between FMERA and EDA need to be transferred.

RWJBarnabas’ campus proposal currently includes an ambulatory center, a medical office building, a Cancer Institute of New Jersey Cancer Center, a business office and space for future medical and health facilities.

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