Press Release
January 10, 2018
3 minute read

Atlantic City Firm Receives Small Business Grant for Improvements

Project Advances Under Program Designed to Help Businesses Capitalize on Local Economic Momentum

TRENTON, NJ (January 10, 2018) The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced the first approval under a program launched earlier this year to support small businesses in Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs), designated as Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs are designed to support the growth of retail and services in GSGZs by providing grants to street level, new and expanding businesses.

SOSH Architects, an architectural, planning, and interior design firm located on Atlantic Avenue since 1986, was approved for assistance under the BII program, which offers grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, up to a maximum of $20,000, for improvements made to the first floor of a facility in an eligible GSGZ location. A $20,000 grant will reimburse costs associated with improvements to SOSH Architects’ facility, including new windows, doors, masonry work, and upgrades to electrical systems and restrooms. 
SOSH Architects’ clients include casinos, retail, dining and entertainment venues, office and residential projects, and civic and educational campuses around the world, as far away as Kenya and Kazakhstan. The firm’s portfolio boasts several projects supported by programs the EDA administers under the EOA, including the Atlantic City Gateway project, and “The Beach at South Inlet,” a mixed-use residential project also in Atlantic City. Other EOA-supported projects designed by SOSH Architects include the transformation of the former Lenox China plant in Galloway into a new operations center for railing and garden product manufacturer Barrette Outdoor Living, and several elements of the Rowan University Master Plan in Glassboro.

“We are seeing an uptick in activity in Atlantic City and have gained new clients in other parts of South Jersey,“ said Thomas Sykes, Principal, SOSH Architects. “These facility improvements will not only help ensure we are well positioned to take on new opportunities and clients, but also contribute to an enhanced streetscape for the community.”  

Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the BLI and BII programs are available to businesses in targeted commercial corridors. In Atlantic City, businesses located on Atlantic, Pacific, and Albany Avenues and within the Downtown Loop area (excluding casinos) are considered eligible, as detailed here

The programs are available on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs.
“SOSH Architects is a perfect example of how small businesses in targeted communities are capitalizing on momentum driven by the EOA,” said EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura. “We hope business owners in all eligible areas will consider applying for the BLI and BII programs to assist them in establishing or improving their businesses and the communities in which they operate.”

In addition to the BII program, the BLI program offers reimbursement of 15 percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet can be eligible, but the BLI grant will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet.

For general program questions please contact Christina Fuentes, EDA Senior Community Development Officer, at 609-858-6663 or

For more information on eligible locations in and Atlantic City, please contact:

James Rutala

The EDA offers a range of resources to support small business growth, including: low-interest loans, and bond financing. To learn more, visit and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn.