NJEDA board approves reopening of 21st Century Redevelopment Program

Gabrielle Saulsbery//April 15, 2021

NJEDA board approves reopening of 21st Century Redevelopment Program

Gabrielle Saulsbery//April 15, 2021

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority board of directors approved the reopening of the 21st Century Redevelopment Program on April 14 after a year on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program makes grants up to $50,000 available to suburbs looking to redevelop, repurpose or re-green vacant and underutilized retail or office park properties.

“The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will play an important role in Gov. Murphy’s plan for a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing resources to help municipalities repurpose dormant office spaces and industrial parks into valuable community assets,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan in a prepared statement.

Tim Sullivan, CEO, New Jersey Economic Development Authority

“This has always been necessary, but it is an even better opportunity now as communities adjust to the post-pandemic future of work and the changes in demand for office and retail space that will come with it,” Sullivan said.

The program was created in October 2018 in response to the emptying out of suburban offices and shopping malls, putting communities in a tough spot with the costs of maintaining infrastructure and roads around them, but a lack of resources to do so. The NJEDA adjusted the eligibility criteria for the program in 2019 to make more properties eligible.

The board’s action on April 14 allows the NJEDA to resume administering the 21st Century Redevelopment Program.

The grants can be used in a variety of ways, including for legal analysis to explore designating one or more relevant properties in the community as an “area in need of redevelopment;” stakeholder engagement and facilitation to identify community desires and needs; identification of appropriate funding sources to support community-led reuse of one or more properties; cataloging relevant retail and office properties in a community and identifying priority sites when considering community needs; economic analysis relating to the feasibility of various redevelopment and/or reuse scenarios; and land-use planning identifying the most suitable reuse scenarios, among other things.

Grant recipients must participate in at least two events hosted by the NJEDA to foster a dynamic discussion about repurposing stranded assets and provide guidance to communities facing similar challenges. Application information is available online. Applicants will have 45 days from the date the application launches to submit proposals. Of those received, 15 applicants will be recommended to the board for grants.