On August 9, 2023, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced nine awardees of the New Jersey Asset Activation Planning Grant Program who will receive a combined $407,800 in grants.
The program provides grants to communities and stakeholder groups to fund early-stage planning work focused on catalytic redevelopment and the adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized public assets.
They will be reviewed and scored on a first-come, first served basis.
The New Jersey Asset Activation Planning Grant Program offers public, private, and nonprofit entities grants of up to $50,000 for innovative projects that both revitalize community assets and drive equitable community growth.
“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is taking concrete steps to transform the state’s distressed and abandoned properties,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.
“The grants awarded today will position the recipients to revitalize underutilized public assets, which will create greater economic growth and opportunity in these communities. With the launch of the second phase of this program, the NJEDA will be able to support the transformation of properties in even more communities across the state,” he added.
The awardees of Phase I of the Asset Activation Planning Grant Program include:
- City of Atlantic City – $50,000
- The City will use the grant to conduct a feasibility study and legal analysis for the redevelopment of Renaissance Plaza, a shopping plaza in midtown Atlantic City with 75,000 square feet of gross leasable space. Site improvements will focus on crime prevention through environmental design.
- Borough of Penns Grove – $50,000
- The grant will be used to conduct an economic analysis and feasibility study for the revitalization of Penns Grove’s waterfront area, which includes a pavilion, abandoned pier, and several properties along West Main Street.
- Camden Special Services District (CSSD) – $50,000
- The grant will be used to conduct public outreach and facilitate conceptual designs to activate a public plaza at 3rd and Market Streets in Camden. The public plaza would complement forthcoming traffic and pedestrian improvements planned for the area.
- Financial Wellness Institute – $50,000
- The nonprofit organization will use the grant to host community visioning sessions and conduct a feasibility study and remediation needs assessment of the Old Sketch Club Building, a community theatre, in Woodbury.
- LTD Unlimited – $49,800
- A remediation needs assessment and feasibility study will be conducted with the grant for three city-owned properties on Broadway and Market Street in downtown Salem. One of the properties, 113 Market Street, is a historic tavern in the city located at the site since the 1730’s.
- Mount Holly Township – $11,000
- The Township will use the grant for a feasibility study and create a concept plan to repurpose a Township-owned parking lot as a community open space. The community space will aim to draw business to the adjacent commercial district, host community events and farmer’s markets, and mitigate flooding.
- RyArMo Photography Studio LLC – $50,000
- The grant will be used for a zoning analysis, site surveys, environmental review, financial feasibility analysis, and a preliminary market study of a city-owned site in Newark. The site at 132-136 Clinton Avenue is located in the city’s Lincoln Park Redevelopment Area and contains a vacant one-story commercial building and a vacant lot.
- The Meadowlands 2040 Foundation, Inc. – $50,000
- The NJEDA Board approved this grant in 2022. The Meadowlands 2040 Foundation used their grant to conduct a concept design, market analysis, and financial feasibility study of a potential convention or conference center to replace the former IZOD sports arena in East Rutherford.
- Trenton Parking Authority – $47,000
- The city’s parking authority will use the grant to conduct a market analysis and resident and stakeholder visioning for the five-level parking garage on the corner of Broad and Front Streets.
To be eligible for an Asset Activation Planning Grant, projects must target distressed public assets, unutilized or underutilized public property, or unutilized public lands owned by a municipality, county, independent authority, bureau, commission, or other public body.
Proposed planning projects may include conceptual design, feasibility studies, and economic or market analyses.
They should also demonstrate a strong connection to the State’s development objectives by creating or catalyzing a new business sector or target industry, driving economic growth and equity, creating an innovative use for an asset, expanding access to public transportation or public services, attracting employers and a diverse, talented workforce, expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and supporting local businesses, and/or improving land use efficiency and sustainability.
The NJEDA also announced that applications for Phase II of the program opened on August 15, 2023, and will be accepted until November 13, 2023, or until grant funds are exhausted.
Photo of 113 Market Street in Salem, New Jersey via Google Maps.