Press Release
July 12, 2017
2 minute read

Christie Administration Bolsters Atlantic City Recovery with Programs to Grow Small Businesses

TRENTON, NJ (July 12, 2017) – The New Jersey Economic Authority (EDA) today joined with Atlantic City to announce the availability of two new programs that will provide grants to street level businesses in designated commercial areas of Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs). Created through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 2013, GSGZs include Atlantic City, Camden, Paterson, Passaic and Trenton.

Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs are designed to support the growth of new and expanding retail and service businesses in targeted commercial corridors. In Atlantic City, businesses located in Main Street and the Downtown Loop areas are considered eligible, as detailed here

“The new BLI and BII programs will help to attract and retain small downtown businesses and drive economic momentum and job creation in our City,” said Atlantic City Mayor Guardian. “I encourage business owners in eligible areas to take advantage of these programs. Atlantic City is uniquely positioned next to a beautiful ocean and a world-famous boardwalk. No matter what size company you have, the time to invest in Atlantic City is now!” 

The BLI program will offer reimbursement of a percentage 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 would be eligible, but the BLI grant would only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet. The BLI program application is available at

The BII program will offer grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, to businesses operating within the first floor of a commercial corridor in GSGZs that are planning to make building improvements, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. The BII program application is available at

“The BLI and BII programs will serve as a complement to the private investment occurring in GSGZs driven by the Economic Opportunity Act,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen. “These programs present an opportunity for small businesses to improve the appearance and functionality of their facilities and help to position them to capitalize on local economic momentum."

Developed in collaboration with the GSGZs, EDA worked with each community to ensure the programs meet the needs of the respective local markets. The programs have been launched on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs.

For general program questions please contact Christina Fuentes, Senior Community Development Officer, EDA, at 609-858-6663 or cfuentes@njeda.comFor more information on eligible locations in Atlantic City, businesses are encouraged to contact Atlantic City Chief of Staff Chris Filiciello at

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.