EDA board approves $50M Citibank loan program aiding international trade

Jessica Perry//January 17, 2012

EDA board approves $50M Citibank loan program aiding international trade

Jessica Perry//January 17, 2012

New Jersey businesses aiming to increase the amount of business they plan to do overseas would receive a boost under a $50 million loan program with Citibank approved by the state Economic Development Authority on Tuesday.

The EDA board approved a new program in which Citibank will provide up to $50 million in financing over the next three years to New Jersey companies engaged in international trade at a low interest rate. In return, the EDA will guarantee up to $10 million of the loans.

“This is an impressive program and really is a testament to Citibank’s commitment” to increasing New Jersey businesses’ trade, board Chairman Alfred C. Koeppe said.

The program can serve as a model for future agreements with banks, according to board member Raymond Burke, president and owner/operator of Burke Motor Group, in the Cape May Court House section of Middle Township. “It’s a significant step,” he said.

Citibank looks forward to working with the state, according to Robert W. Koar, president of Citibank’s eastern regional commercial banking group, based in the Short Hills section of Millburn.

“We can help them become more competitive,” using the bank’s overseas expertise, Koar said of the businesses.

In addition to the bank agreement, the EDA approved three deals related to the Urban Transit Hub tax credit program:

– The board approved up to $28.3 million in tax credits to 70 Columbus Co. LLC to build a primarily residential high-rise above the Grove Street PATH station, in Jersey City. The 48-story project will include 495 units renting for an anticipated $1,600 to $3,100 per month, and 4,500 square feet of retail space. The developer is a four-way partnership between Panepinto Family Realty LLC; Ironstate Holdings LLC, owned by David Barry and Michael Barry; FJG Columbus LLC, controlled by former U.S. Rep. Frank Guarini; and KimmelLipson LLC.

– The board also approved increasing the tax credit for the Teachers Village mixed-use project in Newark from $22.1 million to $39.5 million. The $17.4 million increase is due to increased construction costs and lower anticipated rent. It is being built by Ron Beit and other investors.

– The board also approved an extension in the tax credit for Newark Farmers Market LLC. This two-building project has completed one building, but needs more time to demolish an existing building and complete the second building.

Koeppe has asked EDA staff members to complete a financial analysis of the transit hub program, examining the amount remaining in funds for the program and the existing demand, according to agency CEO Caren S. Franzini. Results from that analysis should be presented at the Feb. 14 board meeting, she said.