EDA SUPPORTS TRANSFORMATIONAL RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS IN NEWARK, CAMDEN THROUGH ENHANCED ERG PROGRAM
Board Also Approves First ‘Mega Project’ under Grow New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J. (February 24, 2014) – In support of the Christie Administration’s commitment to the revitalization of the state’s urban centers, the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today approved two transformational projects in the cities of Newark and Camden through the Economic and Redevelopment Growth (ERG) Program. Expanded and strengthened under the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the ERG Program is now the state’s key developer incentive program.
“The ERG Program was designed to revitalize communities, with a specific focus on spurring significant economic development in New Jersey’s urban centers. I’m pleased that these two projects help to move that objective forward,” EDA CEO Michele Brown said.
Washington Street University Housing Urban Renewal Associates, LLC was approved for an ERG award worth up to $23.1 million to advance a major historic renovation project. The $94.8 million project involves the rehabilitation of 15 Washington Street in Newark, a 21-story, 263,000-square-foot structure originally completed in 1930 for American Insurance Company and later donated to Rutgers. The building was home to Rutgers Law School from 1978 to 1999, and has remained vacant since that time. The proposed plan calls for its rejuvenation through the creation of an estimated 211,000 square feet of student housing. The building also would house approximately 52,000 square feet of office and other non-student residential space, including common and academic space for students and residence life staff. While the Act does not include an employment requirement for residential ERGs, the project is anticipated to create approximately 200 construction jobs.
The Board also approved Broadway Associates 2010 LLC for an ERG award worth up to $13.4 million to advance a $56.7 million project that will help advance the rehabilitation of 175 homes on 22 different street fronts in Camden, all within a half-mile of the city’s central business district. The project will help to significantly improve conditions in the area, which is currently comprised of vacant lots and run-down homes. The homes were originally renovated in 1991 under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Section 8 program. This project has been approved for a new 20-year Section 8 contract as part of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. An estimated 50 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase.
Through the enhanced Grow New Jersey Program, Dietz & Watson, Inc. was approved for an award of up to $3.08 million annually over 10 years. The project is classified as a ‘Mega Project’ under the Economic Opportunity Act for its plans to locate a manufacturing facility in a port district, make a capital investment in excess of $20 million, and create or retain more than 250 employees. This represents the first ‘Mega Project’ to be approved by the Board.
Established in 1940, Dietz & Watson is a family-run manufacturer and distributor known for its high-quality meats. The company lost its warehouse and distribution center in Delanco when it was completely destroyed by a fire last September. With the majority of its staff and operations relocated to Philadelphia, the company is looking to utilize the Grow New Jersey program to re-establish its presence in Burlington County. The alternative is remaining in Philadelphia. If New Jersey is chosen, the company plans to reconstruct its 160,000-square-foot cold storage building, construct a 25,000-square-foot building to house its corporate offices, and expand with the addition of a 16,000-square-foot fleet maintenance garage.
The prospective Delanco facility would create 213 new full-time jobs, and support the retention of 135 “at risk” jobs. The company estimates the capital investment of over $40.8 million. In addition to the Grow NJ award, the Business Action Center assisted Dietz & Watson through their valuable customer service approach, providing ongoing support and interdepartmental advocacy.
“The Economic Opportunity Act’s impact on job creation and investment is already showing significant results, and the approval of Dietz & Watson for a GROW NJ award is a perfect example of why we’re so optimistic for the future,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “With these stronger incentives, the Business Action Center’s advocacy efforts are not only more effective, but allows them to engage companies like Dietz & Watson, confident in New Jersey’s heightened competitive advantage.”
In support of Governor Christie’s commitment to assist the recovery of businesses and communities in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the EDA approved the selection of Asbury Park, Sea Isle City, Keansburg and the Highlands for the first round of $5 million in grants under the Streetscape component of the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program. Any remaining projects from Round One that reached the minimum scoring threshold have been rolled into Round Two, for consideration for a grant from the remaining $5 million.
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.
The EDA is 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: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA.
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).