Christie Administration Announces Funding Available Through Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program To Spur Technology-Led Economic Development In Storm-Impacted Communities
Initiative Builds on Christie Administration’s Commitment to Innovation and Job Creation
TRENTON, N.J. (October 23, 2013) – Building on Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to catalyze economic development, funding is available through the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program to support “Innovation Projects” in New Jersey’s nine most impacted storm-impacted counties. Launched in September, the NCR Program is administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and funded through New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery allocation.
“The Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program aims to create new employment opportunities and attract investment to communities that are continuing to rebuild their local economies in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown. “We know the significant economic potential that our technology industry yields and we encourage all interested parties to explore this funding resource.”
Through the NCR Program, $62.5 million has been allocated to help advance development and public improvement projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. These projects must fall under at least one of four categories: 1) Catalytic Projects; 2) Transformative Neighborhood Projects; 3) Recreational, Cultural and Park Land Amenities; and 4) Innovation Projects.
Innovation Projects must be located in commercial or industrial areas and include planned physical improvements that have commercial or mixed uses. These projects can involve construction or rehabilitation of commercial and mixed-use buildings, parking, and supporting infrastructure. Innovation projects may be small- or large-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.
Applicants must be 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-profit organizations. Partnerships with for-profit entities (i.e. incubator managers) are encouraged.
To be eligible for funding, projects in the nine “most impacted” counties must either have been damaged by the storm or demonstrate that they will contribute to the revitalization of an area that sustained damage. Projects located outside the nine counties must have sustained damage themselves. As defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the nine counties include Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union. Projects must show a clear ability to utilize the entire amount of awarded funding by year end 2015. As a CDBG Disaster Recovery-supported program, applicants will need to meet all associated federal requirements.
Innovation Projects are one of several efforts advanced by the Christie Administration to spur innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.
In September, EDA approved an investment of up to $1.3 million in Milestone Venture Partners IV, representing the fourth venture fund investment made over the last two years. Milestone is expected to raise approximately $35 million to invest in technology companies, with a focus on the digital healthcare market. This investment followed the approval of a $2.5 million investment in ff Rose Venture Capital Fund, which is expected to invest in approximately 40 angel-stage internet and technology companies and recently signed a lease for new space in Hoboken. By investing as a limited partner, EDA helps increase available capital for emerging technology companies. Since 1999, EDA has approved investments in 13 venture funds, totaling nearly $43 million; these funds have leveraged the EDA’s investment by more than 25 times.
In August, EDA approved the first investment under the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, which Governor Christie signed in January to grow New Jersey’s emerging technology industries. The program provides credits against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for 10 percent of a qualified investment in certain emerging technology businesses. To date, the EDA has approved investments in three New Jersey companies.
Over the last several months, EDA has also approved new leases for space at its Technology Centre of New Jersey in North Brunswick and Waterfront Technology Center at Camden. Rutgers University finalized a 64-month lease in Camden, where approximately 12 faculty and graduate student researchers will focus on special projects and biology-related research. Formerly of Indiana, PDS Biotechnology executed a one year lease at the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), which is part of the Technology Centre campus. A recent lease with Orthobond Corporation helped ensure that CCIT’s largest tenant also remained on the North Brunswick campus. Since moving to CCIT in 2009, the biotechnology company has grown from two to four laboratories and expanded from a staff of three to 11. To support its growth and the expected creation of eight additional jobs, Orthobond moved to larger space at the campus’ Biotechnology Development Center II.
For more information on how the NCR program can support Innovation Projects, visit http://www.njeda.com/ncr or call EDA Director of Technology & Life Sciences Kathleen Coviello at (609) 858-6713. To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at http://www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov.