Aspire Tax Credits Approved to Advance Mixed-Use Development Anchored by NJPAC
Development will connect NJPAC to Newark community via 577,000+ sq. ft. of residential, office, retail, arts, and community space
TRENTON, N.J. (February 12, 2023) – A project that will create more than 577,900 square feet of mixed-used space surrounding the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark is the latest development approved by the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for tax credits under the Aspire Program. The project, known as NJPAC District, will connect the existing NJPAC location with the larger Newark community through significant investment in public space, in addition to mixed-use real estate development, serving as a touchpoint between the city’s downtown and the new Riverfront Park.
The project, which is considered a transformative project under the Aspire Program, is being developed by LMXD, an affiliate of L+M Development, and was approved for an award of up to 60 percent of total eligible project costs, not to exceed $199,690,465 in total. It will include a residential component, known as ArtSide, which will be comprised of 350 units totaling 384,840 square feet, with an additional 10,500 square feet of office space and 12,600 square feet of retail space. The project will also include a new 53,000-square-foot arts-education and community facility known as the Cooperman Center, coupled with the renovation of the 17,000-square-foot Episcopal Church building for related arts education activities. Additionally, the project will consist of improvements to the existing 100,000-square-foot NJPAC facility, as well as significant infrastructure improvements to the larger site needed to accommodate the development, such as the complete overhaul of NJPAC’s front lawn, Chambers Plaza.
“NJPAC has been a magnet for local residents and visitors from all over the region for decades, by offering world-class performances, arts education, and community engagement,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The project will expand NJPAC’s positive impact on the Newark community by providing a lively destination for visitors and a dynamic place to call ‘home’ for those seeking a transit accessible, arts-centric lifestyle. It’s truly a means of maximizing the economic activity associated with NJPAC, while elevating the surrounding community.”
In addition to the Aspire Tax Credits, the project is also benefitting from financing provided by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
“NJPAC’s vision to revitalize the Newark community with residential, arts, and educational spaces speaks to the purpose of the Aspire Program,” said Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz who was the prime sponsor of the legislation. “From the dynamic living spaces to the arts-education facility, this project reflects our vision for a vibrant, inclusive future. I am excited to see the positive impact it will bring to our city.”
“For decades, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has not just been a cultural gem; it’s a vital part of Newark’s identity and a beacon for artistic expression,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “I am proud to have sponsored the bill that established the Aspire program, and I am thrilled to see it making a tangible difference right here in my hometown. This transformative endeavor will not only bridge the gap between downtown Newark and the stunning Riverfront Park but also ignite a renaissance in the heart of Newark.”
“The sum of these funds – whether to establish dining venues, art studios, space for creative work and communal collaboration, or an agricultural and nutritional center –are each, and collectively, earmarked for the nourishment of all aspects of Newark’s vitality as a thriving community,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “On behalf of all Newarkers, I thank NJEDA for these real estate and development grants so crucial to our present and future well-being and growth.”
“From its earliest imaginings more than a generation ago, NJPAC was designed as a unique anchor cultural institution in service to the city of Newark and the state of New Jersey,” said NJPAC President & CEO, John Schreiber. “Our audiences, staff, and programming reflect the remarkable diversity of the many communities we serve. Today’s landmark tax credit award makes possible the exciting next phase of the Arts Center’s evolution, and the dynamic neighborhood we will build on our campus will help further elevate downtown Newark’s status as a 24/7 live, work, and play destination. We are honored and grateful to be in partnership with Tim Sullivan, the NJEDA, Governor Murphy, and Mayor Baraka to bring new residential, retail, educational and cultural assets to our hometown.”
Aspire is a place-based economic development program created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA) to support mixed-use, transit-oriented development with tax credits to commercial and residential real estate development projects that have financing gaps. All residential Aspire projects containing newly-constructed units must include at least 20 percent affordable housing. As a performance-based program, projects must certify that all commitments established at time of approval have been met before receiving their first disbursement of tax credits. NJPAC District is the second transformative project approved under the new Aspire rules, which the NJEDA adopted in November.
In line with Governor Murphy’s and the NJEDA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency, the Aspire program rules include provisions, such as a gap financing review and excess revenue sharing requirements, to ensure tax credits are awarded responsibly.
The Aspire program application, as well as complete rules, eligibility requirements, award sizes, and other information can be found here.
About the NJEDA
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.
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