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Garden State Growth Zone - Business Improvement Incentive

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The Garden State Growth Zone (GSGZ) Business Improvement Incentive (BII) offers grants of up to 50% of total project cost, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, to businesses operating within the first-floor of a commercial corridor in the GSGZ that are planning to make building improvements, with a minimum project cost of $5,000.
  • Incentive

    Grants of up to 50% of total project cost, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, with a minimum project cost of $5,000.

  • Terms

    Applicant must be making improvements of at least $5,000 to the first-floor of a facility in an eligible area within one of the five Garden State Growth Zones (Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton.)


    Additional terms apply. See program requirements below.

  • Benefits

    Goal of the program is to to enhance the vibrancy of commercial corridors through building improvements (façade and interior) in Garden State Growth Zones

  • Eligible Areas

    EDA worked with the cities to identify eligible areas that are consistent with existing redevelopment plans or zoning ordinances.


    Please see program information below for description and maps detailing eligible areas.

Incentive Type and Amount:

Grants of up to 50% of total project cost, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. Applicants must certify a 1:1 match of grant funding, and obtain all applicable zoning and building permits. Matching funds cannot include other public financing or assistance.

Program Requirements:

  • A limit of three BIIs (limit of 1 BII per project address) will be approved per applicant (or related entity) over the 3-year life of the pilot program.  Applicants that have been approved for a GSGZ Business Lease Incentive are not eligible for a BII, and vice versa.
  • Applicants must certify a 1:1 match of grant funding, and obtain all applicable zoning and building permits. Matching funds cannot include other public financing or assistance.
  • Building improvements must comply with New Jersey prevailing wage requirements and be completed within 12 months from executed grant agreement, with an option for a 6-month extension upon request.
  • Project must include improvements made to first floor of a facility within an eligible commercial corridor in the GSGZ, as program purpose is to increase pedestrian traffic and encourage streetscape vibrancy and building improvements.
  • Facilities that have received incentives through Grow NJ or ERG are not eligible.
  • Applicant must certify that they are not in default of any other EDA financing.


Funding Disbursement:

The GSGZ BII Program is a performance-based incentive program.  This means that no funding is immediately disbursed upon application approval, but rather until evidence is demonstrated that the grant terms have been met.  This includes:

  • Proof of completion and payment of the building improvements
  • Certification that the project has been completed along with either a CO or a Certificate of Approval issued by the GSGZ.
  • Site visit from Authority staff confirming improvements were made.
  • Documentation reflecting prevailing wage compliance.


Eligible Areas:

EDA has worked with the five GSGZ cities to determine areas within the city that are eligible for the incentive. These areas are consistent with existing redevelopment plans and/or zoning ordinances.  Below is a brief description of the eligible area as well as a map for your reference.  Please contact the GSGZ Program Representative at the bottom of this page if you are unsure of your location's eligibility.

Atlantic City - Main Street designated areas and the area of study by Rutgers Downtown Loop (Boardwalk businesses are ineligible at this time.) 
Click here for more information

Camden - Cooper Grant/Downtown Neighborhood and East Camden
Click here for more information

Passaic - Market/First Street Corridor and Central Business District on Main Avenue
Click here for more information

Paterson - Businesses in the Urban Enterprise Zones as well as those in the Downtown Historic District, Main Street (from lower main to Crooks Ave.), 21st Ave from Main to Madison, and 10th Ave.
Click here for more information

Trenton:

  • State Street from Rutgers Place to Wall Street
  • Broad Street from Feeder Street to Furman Street
  • Warren Street from East State Street to Lafayette Avenue
  • Front Street from Barrack Street to Broad Street
  • Lafayette Avenue from Barrack Street to Broad Street


Click here for more information

Fees*:

  • $500 Application Fee for For-Profit Entities
  • $250 Application Fee for Not-for-Profit Entities
  • $100 Administrative Fee
 

* All fees are non-refundable.
 

Division of Taxation Tax Clearance Certificate required.  Certificates may be requested through the State of New Jersey’s Premier Business Services (PBS) portal online.

  • Under the Tax & Revenue Center, select Tax Services, then select Business Incentive Tax Clearance.
  • If the applicant’s account is in compliance with its tax obligations and no liabilities exist, the Business Incentive Tax Clearance can be printed directly through PBS.
 

Please note:  It is the applicant/client’s responsibility to maintain a current and clear tax clearance certificate.  If a current and clear certificate is not evidenced to EDA at time of application, EDA will not proceed with approval.


Garden State Growth Zone Program Representatives:

If you have any questions about the program or eligibility in your area, please first contact the following representative from your  city.  These representatives must also review and certify any application for completeness prior to EDA considering the application for approval.

General Program Questions:

Christina Fuentes
EDA Senior Community Development Officer
609-858-6663
cfuentes@njeda.com

City-Specific Questions:

Atlantic City:

James M. Rutala, PP, AICP, MBA
jmrutala@comcast.net
609-743-0354

Camden:

Vincent Basara
Ombudsman/Communications
City of Camden, Office of the Mayor
520 Market Street, City Hall – Suite 400
Camden NJ, 08101
856-757-7200
vibasara@ci.camden.nj.us​

Passaic:

Soraya Stam
UEZ Coordinator-City of Passaic
330 Passaic Street
Passaic, NJ 07055
973-365-5500
sstam@cityofpassaicnj.gov

Paterson:

Penni Forestieri - UEZ Director 
125 Ellison Street, 4th Floor
Paterson, NJ  07505
973-321-1220 Office
pforestieri@patersonnj.gov

Trenton:

Eric Maywar, Economic Development Specialist
City of Trenton 
319 East State Street  
609-989-3529 
emaywar@trentonnj.org

Application

GSGZ BLI/BII Program Brochure