Economic Opportunity Act Encourages Small Business Growth in Trenton and Atlantic City
TRENTON (March 16, 2017) – The Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today approved two projects through the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) that illustrate how the Economic Opportunity Act has worked to stimulate business growth in targeted industries and communities. Grow NJ tax credits were approved to encourage a small beer manufacturer to locate in Atlantic City, and to bring an expanding technology firm to the City of Trenton.
Family and minority-owned DeWalt Brewing Company is a manufacturer of handcrafted beer, including its core products – Noisey Lever Ale, Ruby Diamond IPA and Mixed Berry Apple Cider. Founded by Christopher DeWalt and located in Mount Penn, Pennsylvania, Grow NJ tax credits of up to $108,795 annually over 10 years were approved to encourage the company to relocate to Atlantic City, which would result in 15 new jobs. DeWalt also is considering a location in Reading for its expansion. If Atlantic City is chosen, the company expects to manufacture its beer at a 5,940-square-foot facility on Baltic Avenue, which also will feature a tasting room.
Maestro Technologies, a global innovation, technology and services company focused on the financial and pharmaceutical sectors, is contemplating a move to the State Capital. The company is looking to centrally locate its staff into a new headquarters, either a 40,000-square-foot facility on West State Street in Trenton or a comparable space in Wilmington, Delaware. If Trenton is chosen, the company expects to bring its existing staff of 35 and to create an additional 143 new jobs, investing an estimated $1.65 million. The company was approved for Grow NJ tax credits of up to $1.735 million annually over 10 years to encourage its expansion in Trenton.
“Grow NJ is effectively working to encourage growth in targeted industries and communities, successfully advancing key policy objectives of the Economic Opportunity Act,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen. “The businesses approved today also showcase how Grow NJ is helping both big and small companies expand and create new job opportunities in the State.”
To date under Grow NJ, over 83 percent of approved tax credits have supported companies looking to locate or expand in a targeted location, including the statutorily-defined distressed municipalities, Urban Transit Hubs, and Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs). Of that, approximately 44 percent have gone specifically to support projects in GSGZs, which benefit from the highest levels of economic incentives under the Economic Opportunity Act and include Trenton, Camden, Paterson, Passaic and Atlantic City.
In addition to policy objectives focused on location, the Act also emphasizes growth in targeted industries, including transportation, manufacturing, defense, energy, logistics, life sciences, technology, health, and finance. Over 51 percent of approved Grow NJ credits have supported companies representing a targeted industry; of that, 47 percent of tax credits are for companies in the manufacturing or technology sectors.
Last month, the EDA announced the creation of the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs, designed expressly to expand support of small business growth in GSGZs and complement economic activity in these areas driven by the Economic Opportunity Act. Expected to launch later this year, the BLI program will offer reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payments for two years for new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space; the BII program will offer grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, not to exceed $20,000, to eligible businesses planning to make building improvements.
“The BLI and BII programs will help to attract and retain small businesses in Garden State Growth Zones, allowing them to capitalize on local economic momentum," Orsen noted.
The Business Action Center (BAC) worked in collaboration with the EDA to help cultivate the two Grow NJ projects, providing interdepartmental advocacy and ongoing customer support. As a performance-based program, approved Grow NJ projects must first generate new tax revenue, complete capital investments, and/or hire or retain employees to receive approved benefits.
The EDA and BAC are part of the State’s results-driven Partnership for Action. Created by Governor Christie and led by Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: BAC, Choose New Jersey, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA.
EDA Board meetings are typically held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 36 West State Street in Trenton. The Board meeting schedule, as well as Board agendas and minutes, are available at www.njeda.gov. All Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.