NJ Utilities Association Relocates Headquarters with Help of State Grant Program
Project Advances Under New Program Designed to Encourage Growth in Targeted Urban Areas
TRENTON, NJ (January 24, 2018) – Advancing its commitment to bolster small businesses and not-for-profit organizations in targeted commercial corridors around the Garden State, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced today that the New Jersey Utilities Association (NJUA) has become the first entity to be approved for a grant under the recently-launched Business Lease Incentive (BLI) program. Together with the Business Improvement Incentive (BII) Program, the BLI Program is designed to support the growth of retail and services in Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs) by providing grants to street level, new and expanding businesses. These GSGZs were designated as Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA).
NJUA is the statewide trade association for investor-owned utilities that provide essential water, wastewater, electric, natural gas and telecommunications services to New Jersey residents and businesses. NJUA has provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and a unified voice in the public policy arena for its members since 1915.
NJUA has occupied a suite at 50 West State Street in Trenton since 1990. The announcement of the BLI program prompted NJUA’s leadership to consider a move to a street-level location. After identifying newly-renovated space at nearby 154 West State Street, NJUA applied and was approved for assistance under the BLI program, which offers reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payments to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 – 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. NJUA will receive reimbursement of 15 percent of its lease payments after making those payments for one year. This incentive will be paid out for two years after the applicant provides the necessary documentation.
“The BLI program was a key factor in our decision to relocate within Trenton,” said NJUA President Andrew Hendry. “Our new street-level offices on West State Street will increase our visibility and accessibility and enable us to engage more fully with the community.”
The organization’s new headquarters will occupy 1,890 square feet in a recently renovated historic property. The three-story brownstone, located just 250 feet from the State House, is one of five Trenton properties purchased and renovated in the last year by Staten Island native and real estate developer John Salis.
“When I purchased the property, it needed a lot of work, but the architecture and the location appealed to me,” said Salis. “I see the potential of the capital city, and hope to influence other investors to be a part of the change taking place in Trenton.” Salis noted that he believes the BLI and BII programs will be instrumental in encouraging businesses to locate or expand in Trenton.
Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the BLI and BII programs are available to businesses in targeted commercial corridors. A detailed map of eligible locations is available via http://njeda.com/bli. 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.
“We are excited to see business owners in eligible areas beginning to take advantage of the BLI and BII programs, and encourage others to apply,” said EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura. “These programs are helping to revitalize and position businesses to capitalize on the increased foot traffic in areas where investment and economic momentum are building.”
In addition to the BLI program, the BII program 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.
For general program questions, please contact Christina Fuentes, EDA Senior Community Development Officer at 609-858-6663 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on eligible locations in Trenton, please contact:
Economic Development Specialist, City of Trenton
The EDA offers a range of resources to support small business growth, including low-interest loansand bond financing. Visit www.njeda.gov/lending and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more.