On September 24, 2019, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) launched the NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace, an online portal designed to help connect investors nationwide with business investment, real estate, and community improvement projects in New Jersey’s 75 Opportunity Zone municipalities.
The Marketplace is part of a suite of programs the NJEDA is advancing in partnership with the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) and New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). They aim at supporting investments that will provide positive growth in New Jersey communities in Opportunity Zones.
“Opportunity Zones were designed to empower community leaders to attract investment and create opportunity for their residents,” Senator Cory Booker said (D-NJ).
“The New Jersey Opportunity Zone Marketplace is exactly the type of tool needed to connect investors to the state’s 75 Opportunity Zone municipalities to fully take advantage of this program. The Marketplace, along with the State’s suite of initiatives like Impact Measurement, will open up investments in our Opportunity Zones and help unleash our state’s full potential, while tracking and analyzing projects to ensure they reach targeted communities that have for too long been overlooked. With that goal in mind, I am pushing bipartisan legislation to make certain we have reporting like this on the federal level too,” Booker continued.
The NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace includes a Project Marketplace featuring business and real estate project opportunities, and a Network that facilitates connections between investors, developers, local leaders, project sponsors, business and property owners, and service providers to drive meaningful investments in Opportunity Zones throughout the state.
“One of our top priorities is using the Opportunity Zone program to drive positive change in communities that have suffered from decades of underinvestment,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner.
“The valuable data collected through the NJ Opportunity Zone Community Impact Measurement initiative will allow us to identify the programs that are having the biggest impact. This is critical to addressing the challenges Opportunity Zones face in an efficient, effective way that puts the community’s interests first,” she added.
Individuals and organizations can join the Statewide Network, as well as Local Networks in every city, county, township, and borough to learn about opportunities and start communicating with project sponsors, community members, and local leaders about potential projects. This resource will enable all municipalities in the state’s Opportunity Zones to post business and real estate projects at no charge.
“Attracting investment to areas that have long been overlooked is a critical component of Governor Murphy’s plan for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan.
“The New Jersey Opportunity Zone Marketplace will connect investors from all over the world with growing New Jersey businesses and redevelopment projects in parts of the state that have suffered from disinvestment. This is a critical step to advance community-supported change in these areas of the state, and the DCA’s Impact Measurement research will provide the data we need to ensure the Marketplace and other programs targeting Opportunity Zones are achieving the administration’s goals,” he added.
Parallel to the launch of the NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace, New Jersey will begin to assess the impact of Opportunity Zones using the Impact Measurement research initiative, a long-term analysis of Opportunity Zone communities in New Jersey focused on measuring progress toward the Murphy Administration’s goals.
The DCA-led effort launched during the summer of 2019 is an analysis of multiple measures to look at the impact of Opportunity Zone investments on community development activity, business growth, and other key economic indicators. This data collection will be critical to ensuring New Jersey’s Opportunity Zone program effectively advances catalytic projects that improve the targeted communities.
“NJRA has a long history of success in areas facing redevelopment challenges,” said NJRA CEO and President Leslie Anderson. “Now, as we partner with the NJEDA and DCA, New Jersey is well positioned to optimize the chance Opportunity Zones present for driving capital into underserved communities to have a triple bottom line impact.”
The NJ Opportunity Zones Marketplace was developed by OppSites, a national Marketplace and Networking platform that connects people to real estate and business project opportunities in cities across the country. The NJ Portal is connected to OppSites’ national Opportunity Zone Marketplace and Network.
“We are thrilled to work with the NJEDA to establish the NJ Opportunity Zones Marketplace. We are particularly excited to see NJEDA putting their support behind such a wide range of public and private sector project opportunities that will improve communities throughout the state,” said Ian Ross, CEO and Co-Founder of OppSites. “Fostering prosperity in cities and towns is why we launched OppSites in the first place and it is clear New Jersey’s government shares our vision.”
In addition to the NJ Opportunity Zone Marketplace, New Jersey’s whole-of-government approach to driving Opportunity Zone investment includes the NJEDA’s Opportunity Zone Challenge, a Community Asset Map with data on Opportunity Zone communities, and various technical support resources for Opportunity Zone communities and entrepreneurs. More information about these and other resources is available here.
Photo of Trenton, New Jersey via Adobe Stock.