New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently announced a new statewide initiative, the Strong NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program. Administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), the $75 million NCR program will offer financial assistance to support development and public improvement projects; main street revitalization; and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) providing loans to small businesses. Eligibility for the NCR program is restricted to for-profit developers; municipalities and county governments undertaking publically owned or to be publically owned projects; state or municipal redevelopment agencies; or, other eligible economic development non-profits. Funds may be used for construction and/or rehabilitation, property acquisition and assembly, demolition and clearance, environmental investigation and remediation, pre-development costs, mitigation measures, and infrastructure.

$62.5 million of the $75 million available through the NCR Program will be allocated to help advance development and public improvement projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Projects must fall under at least one of the following four categories:

  1. Catalytic Projects, which must be located in commercial or industrial areas. These projects must include planned physical improvements that have commercial or mixed uses, including retail, office, hospitality, community, and industrial; projects with a housing component can only receive funding for the commercial component. Projects can involve construction or rehabilitation of commercial and mixed-use buildings, parking, and supporting infrastructure (i.e. utilities, streetscape, drainage, etc.).
  2. Transformative Neighborhood Projects, which must have the same characteristics of catalytic projects, but be located within residential areas.
  3. Innovation Projects, which also must have the same attributes of catalytic projects, but may be of a smaller scale and involve multi-tenant technology business development. This could include the creation of specialized laboratory or research and development space to be used by a technology business. Projects may be stand-alone or distinct parts of a larger development.
  4. Recreational, Cultural and Park Land Amenities, which must be planned physical improvements that have recreational or cultural uses within commercial, residential or existing/planned park areas. These projects can involve construction or improvement of parks, recreational structures, boardwalks and esplanades, cultural and community facilities, and supporting infrastructure (i.e. utilities, streetscape, signage and drainage).

The EDA will also utilize $10 million to support main street revitalization projects and $2.5 million to provide existing CDFIs with up to a $500,000 grant to fund small business loans in the nine most impacted counties.
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