On December 3, 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it is now accepting applications for the 21st Century Redevelopment Program, which will provide grant funding to assist communities with developing solutions for repurposing local vacant or underutilized commercial and retail properties.
The 21ST Century Redevelopment Challenge comes as a response to a number of demographic and economic trends that have resulted in an out-migration of jobs and population, leaving many office parks and shopping malls that once thrived now underutilized or vacant. 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.
“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,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will facilitate investment in communities, one of the four strategic priorities of Governor Phil Murphy’s plan for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy.”
The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will launch as a pilot program with a total of $250,000 in funding available in the form of grants of up to $50,000 per recipient. New Jersey municipalities, counties, or county redevelopment agencies can apply for grant funding through the 21st Century Redevelopment Program to support ideas that focus on several elements including, but not limited to:
- 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 multi-family 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 New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis and will be scored by an evaluation committee based on publicly available scoring criteria. Projects that achieve a minimum score will be recommended for grant funding.
As part of the terms of the grant, grantees will be required to participate in at least two events hosted by the EDA to share lessons learned from the planning process, foster a dynamic discussion about repurposing stranded assets, and provide guidance and assistance to similarly situated communities.
Photo of Newark, New Jersey via Adobe Stock.