The New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced this week that it is taking applications for its new $250,000 program aimed at helping communities repurpose local vacant or underutilized commercial and retail properties.
The 21st Century Redevelopment Program was developed in response to abandoned and vacant office parks and shopping malls. Recipients can receive up to $50,000 each.
“These properties create many planning challenges for the communities that host them, including the loss of tax revenues and lack of resources to maintain infrastructure and roads around these properties,” according to the announcement.
Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the EDA, said the program will help drive the economy.
“Repositioning these sites will help drive the innovation economy via a range of new uses, from modern office space to mixed use development to catalytic open space,” he said. “The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will facilitate investment in communities, one of the four strategic priorities of Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy.”
The funding could be used for:
- Determining cost-benefits of retrofitting, redeveloping or regreening a property or properties;
- Driving economic growth for the facility and region;
- Creating greater social, economic and environmental sustainability;
- Expanding affordable and multifamily housing;
- Attracting employers and a diverse, talented workforce;
- Expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and supporting local businesses;
- Promoting walkable neighborhoods and improving accessibility and mobility;
- Connecting to public transportation; and
- Improving livability and healthy outcomes for local population.
The program is based on Gov. Phil Murphy’s economic vision, which called a similar program NJ Aspire.
In his vision, Murphy said the program would “facilitate the conversion of surface parking lots, vacant and/or abandoned lots, and other underutilized properties into job and tax-generating development opportunities.”