Governor Jon Corzine is making a major effort to turn urban blight into a “gold mine” for companies relocating to big cities.
Since the New Jersey Urban Fund was launched in October 2006 as the centerpiece of Governor Jon Corzine’s Economic Growth Strategy’s urban revitalization action plan, it has helped create more than 4,020 new jobs and retain 3,050 current jobs in the state. The Urban Fund was designed to stimulate investment in urban communities by providing businesses and community development organizations with the financial and technical tools they need to grow and revitalize neighborhoods. The fund was initiated with a capital commitment of $185 million from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to be leveraged with investments from private sources expected to generate $555 million in total investment in New Jersey. To date, $185.5 million has been deployed by the state, representing more than 100% of the $185 million commitment of funds. In addition, $438 million in total project costs have been leveraged by Urban Fund investments.
“Governor Corzine’s commitment to enhancing our urban communities helps to re-energize our cities and provides additional resources to foster community economic development and growth throughout New Jersey,” says Caren Franzini, CEO of NJEDA.
Thus far in 2008, 40 projects have received funding under the Urban Fund, providing nearly $61 million in assistance to Atlantic City, Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, and Trenton. This assistance, supporting more than 940 current jobs, and the estimated creation of 1,921 new jobs, will result in total project costs of more than $150.9 million.
Additionally, through the Urban Fund, the state finalized another 49 projects in other Urban Aid cities, providing more than $39.5 million in bonds, loans, loan guarantees, and environmental assistance grants for borrowers investing almost $100 million in the state’s economy. This support is projected to create 624 jobs and maintain 983 existing jobs.
New Initiative Puts NJ Transit Hubs on the Map
New Jersey recently introduced a new initiative designed to encourage investment and job growth around urban transit hubs, which are defined as heavy rail stations in nine urban municipalities: Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, and Trenton.
“This initiative establishes a new tax credit program to spur new capital investment and increased employment in targeted urban rail transit hubs and to catalyze economic development in those areas,” says Gov. Corzine. “The initiative supports the revitalization of New Jersey’s urban centers by leveraging valuable transit assets that provide a strong foundation for economic growth, while encouraging increased transit ridership.”
The Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program provides tax credits equal to 80% to 100% of the qualified capital investments made within an eight-year period. Taxpayers may apply 10% of the total credit amount per year over a 10-year period against their corporate business tax, insurance premiums tax, or gross income tax liability. The program’s requirements include:
• A business or developer must make a capital investment of at least $75 million in a qualified facility.
• The capital investment project must be located within a half-mile radius of a designated commuter rail hub in an eligible city.
• The business receiving the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit must employ at least 250 full-time workers at the facility.
• A business creating and maintaining at least 200 new state jobs at a qualified facility may be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to 100% of the capital investment.
• Tenants that employ at least 250 full-time workers in a qualified facility may also receive Transit Hub Tax Credits if they occupy space in the facility that represents at least $25 million of the overall capital investment of $75 million or more.
Celebrating Another Life Science Success Story
Amicus Therapeutics, Inc., a Cranbury-based biopharmaceutical firm, recently celebrated a significant milestone in the company’s surging growth. The company, which has benefited from several EDA and state programs, began as a seven-person startup venture in 2002 and hired its 100th employee in July.
“Growing technology and life sciences companies in New Jersey is crucial to our economy,” said Gov. Corzine at the ceremony. “Amicus Therapeutics exemplifies the kind of company we are encouraging through programs like the Edison Innovation Fund.
“The remarkable growth Amicus has experienced is a success story that will help to ensure New Jersey’s impressive history of innovation and discovery for years to come. I congratulate the company for this tremendous achievement.”
Amicus Therapeutics focuses on developing novel, oral therapeutics known as “pharmacological chaperones” for the treatment of a range of human genetic diseases.
“The passion, commitment and competence of each and every employee at Amicus is the foundation of our success, and this is a great milestone for Amicus in building momentum in the fight against human genetic diseases,” said Amicus CEO John Crowley during the event. “The great success that Amicus has become in New Jersey was made possible, also, by the state’s programs and assistance in our early days as a startup company.”
In 2005, the company became the first graduate of NJEDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies, which is part of the larger Technology Center of New Jersey in North Brunswick. Amicus also utilized the state’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program and received funding from the Garden State Life Sciences Venture Fund.