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EDA seeks to breathe new life into vacant malls, office parks

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As millennials, jobs and money flock from the suburbs and to cities, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority wants to help redevelop the malls, corporate campuses and shopping centers that have been left behind and now sit empty.

The EDA’s board Thursday approved a $250,000 pilot program for the 21st Century Redevelopment Program, in which state would provide grants of up to $50,000 to municipalities, counties and redevelopment agencies that are looking redevelop these types of abandoned or underutilized properties.  

“The 21st Century Redevelopment Program presents an opportunity for communities to focus on creative ideas for repurposing dormant properties in ways that contribute to the economy rather than drain valuable resources,” said EDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “Our expectation is to not only provide funding that will help address a particular community’s specific challenges, but also identify strategies to share with similarly situated communities.”

The program is part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed investment in communities, one of four prongs in his ambitious economic master plan unveiled Oct. 1, which also includes a combination of tax credits and economic incentives that would require legislative approval.

Eligible projects include affordable housing, transit-oriented redevelopment, opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and environmentally conscious developments.

Properties have to be at least 750,000 square feet and have a vacancy rate of at least 25 percent, or at least 20 percent for no less than 3 years.

The EDA will accept applications on a rolling basis, and applicants have to match 20 percent of the grant amount they are seeking.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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