Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers recently presented the magazine’s first Achievement in Downtown Revitalization Award to Brick City Development Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lyneir Richardson.
In March, Business Facilities introduced a new annual series of Economic Development Awards to honor the agencies and organizations that have established and consistently executed the best practices in our industry, bringing measurable success in targeted economic development to the locations they represent. We created more than a dozen new awards categories, including overall economic development excellence awards, best practices awards that cite achievements in specialized programs like workforce training and incentives, and awards for marketing excellence in the use of new media (including social networks and video).
In assessing the candidates for the Achievement in Downtown Revitalization award, we took note not only of recent progress in the cities that made our list of finalists, but also how far they have come in breathing new life into their urban centers. After a lengthy malaise in past years, Newark, NJ is undergoing a renaissance that is transforming its downtown into a model of 21st Century urban development. This effort has been spearheaded by our award winner, Brick City Development Corp. The city has deployed the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit incentive to spur major projects, including the relocation of Panasonic and a planned new headquarters for insurance giant Prudential.
“This award is in recognition of the steady progress Newark has made in its efforts to attract new businesses to the city while maintaining its traditional employment base, a growing center of leading institutions of higher education and a world-class logistics and transportation hub,” Rogers said.
“We are particularly impressed with the way Newark is maximizing the opportunities for growth facilitated by New Jersey’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit. We are confident Newark has set in place the foundation for future success with an economic development strategy that will continue to produce positive results for New Jersey’s largest city,” he added.
New Jersey organizations also snared the top prize in two other Achievement Awards categories.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has been selected to receive our new Achievement in Targeted Incentives Award for the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit. There were five winners nationally in our new incentives awards category, which honors the programs that have deployed a creative use of carefully designed incentives aimed at achieving specific growth targets.
“The Urban Transit Hub credit shows great promise not only as a tool for business retention but also as a growth driver for New Jersey’s urban centers,” Rogers said. “The leveraging of transportation infrastructure as an economic development tool exhibits a forward-thinking approach to urban revitalization that positions New Jersey ahead of the curve as the development paradigm shifts to a more energy-efficient future.”
New Jersey’s Partnership for Action is the first recipient of our new Achievement in Reorganization of Economic Development Award. This award is in recognition of the scope of the reorganization undertaken by New Jersey with the Partnership for Action plan.
The Garden State for many years has had to fight an uphill battle against the perception that its business climate has been, to put it diplomatically, a bit surly. Two years ago, Gov. Chris Christie set about to change that perception with one of the most comprehensive reorganizations of statewide economic development we’ve seen in a long time. Under the umbrella of the New Jersey Partnership for Action and headed by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the plan consists of three highly-focused organizational elements—-Choose New Jersey, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the Business Action Center—-that provide economic development services, link companies to incentive programs and attract international investment to others.
“Business Facilities continues to be impressed with this reorganization’s focus on a steady improvement of the state’s business climate. We believe the Partnership for Action now has the plan and structure in place to move New Jersey into the top rank of national economic development leaders,” Rogers said.
“The change has been dramatic and effective, and it made our choice for the first annual winner of our Achievement in Reorganization of Economic Development Award an easy one,” he added.