The New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s new Brownfields Impact Fund will launch later this winter to provide grant funding and low-interest loans to public sector and nonprofit organizations, as well as low-interest loans to for-profit organizations, to do cleanup activities at brownfields sites throughout the state.
Potential applicants for the Brownfields Impact Fund can pre-qualify online, the organization announced Dec. 6.
Brownfields, former commercial or industrial sites that are vacant or underutilized and are suspected or known to be contaminated, negatively impact New Jersey’s economy by lowering property values, decreasing employment opportunities, and leading to a loss of tax revenue. A brownfield can be a large, former industrial property or a small, abandoned lot downtown.
The Brownfields Impact Fund will make low-interest loans up to $350,000 available to for-profit organizations and will make grants up to $350,000 available to nonprofit organizations and units of local governments.
Grants can be combined with low-interest loans to facilitate brownfield redevelopment by addressing gaps in funding. After site remediation is complete, construction financing may be more readily obtained by a developer, NJEDA said in its announcement.
“As we continue to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy, Gov. Phil Murphy has identified the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites as an important component of smart planning that will allow our State to meet its goals for economic growth,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said in a prepared statement. “The Brownfields Impact Fund will increase the economic impact of the State’s investment, reactivating long-stalled sites and encouraging job creation through productive reuse of long dormant properties.”
To be eligible for a loan from the new fund, entities must be able to demonstrate site control or a path to site control of a brownfield property at time of application. Nonprofit organizations and local government entities applying for subgrant funding must own the brownfield property at the time of application and retain ownership for the term of the subgrant.
Applications for either the loan or subgrant must be accompanied by a letter of support from the mayor or the governing body of the municipality. Applicants must also be in good standing with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
Applications for the Brownfield Impact Fund will open early next year. Eligibility will be limited to federally designated Opportunity Zones in the States’ Community Collaborative Initiative cities for the first 90 days; and after that period, the Authority will accept applications from projects located throughout the entire state.
The Brownfields Impact Fund is part of NJEDA Community Revitalization, a list of initiatives designed to support development that transforms underutilized and contaminated spaces into community assets to then achieve “a greener, fairer New Jersey,” the organization said.