NJEDA approves program to expand access to capital for emerging developers

House model on background of U.S. one hundred dollar bills. Property investment, home loan, house mortgage, real estate concept

A new $20 million pilot program to support rising real estate developers was approved last week by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority board. The Emerging Developer Fund will help developers gain access to capital and build additional capacity to expand their existing portfolio.

“Rising developers must be part of the process as we strengthen and build up underserved New Jersey communities,” Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way said. “The NJEDA’s Emerging Developers Fund is in line with Gov. Phil Murphy’s vision for a more accessible and equitable economy and a stronger Garden State.”

The Emerging Developer Fund will provide grants of up to $200,000 to assist small-scale developers with up to 50% of their pre-development soft costs.

The program will support small-scale developers that have completed at least two — but no more than five — commercial and/or mixed-use properties of similar scope. The creation of this program will address various difficulties that continue to be a constant burden to emerging developers, which limit opportunities to expand their portfolios.

“As we work to revitalize communities across the state, we must ensure new, emerging developers have access to the same opportunities and advantages in order to create an inclusive economy,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “The Emerging Developer Fund will better position small-scale developers to grow and succeed, which will ultimately help build stronger communities. The program’s focus on developers in underserved communities underscores Gov. Murphy and Lt. Gov. Way’s commitment to creating a stronger, fairer economy and improving the lives of hardworking New Jerseyans.”

“Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is taking proactive strides to empower developers from a wider range of backgrounds. The Emerging Developer Fund will further the administration’s efforts to break barriers and foster growth,” New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Executive Director Melanie Walter said. “Together, we’re shaping a brighter future for our communities, one development at a time.”

Projects located in Opportunity Zones or in a Government Restricted Municipality will receive an additional $50,000 bonus, increasing its award to $250,000. There are 169 designated Opportunity Zones and three GRMs, including Atlantic City, Paterson and Trenton.

“This latest initiative by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority demonstrates how government can execute with intentionality to expand participation in our state’s economy,” John Harmon Sr., founder, CEO and president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said. “The Emerging Developer Fund is a forward-thinking strategy to improve New Jersey’s competitiveness.”