Real Estate Journal — New Jersey — November 14 - 27, 2014 — 9B


M id A tlantic

C entral N ew J ersey

Seminar provides update for developers & brokers, citing approved projects & capital investment NAIOP New Jersey: “State’s Business Incentive Programs are Having an Impact”

DISON, NJ — While New Jersey’s economy continues to recover from the last recession, the state’s economic development community has been armed with some powerful incentive programs that have leveled the competitive playing field with other states. That was the consensus of industry experts addressing NAIOP New Jer- sey ’s “Incentives Update for Developers & Brokers.” The seminar was held at the Shera- ton Edison in Raritan Center. The incentives include New Jersey EDA ’s Economic Rede- velopment and Growth (ERG) and Grow New Jersey pro- grams, and the Economic Op- portunity Act of 2013 (EO13). “This is a particularly timely topic,” said Robert Kossar of JLL , who moderated the dis- cussion. He noted, in fact, that an amendment to EO13 “has been approved by the legisla- ture and is on the Governor’s desk.” Subsequently, Governor Christie signed this bill into law on October 24. “The legislation specifically supports manufacturing, tech- nology and finance jobs,” noted Tim Lizura , president and COO of the New Jersey EDA. “It is performance-based in terms of investment and jobs created and/or retained. Key components include incentives to diversify and redevelop Atlantic City, with additional benefits for Camden –South Jersey is a major focal point.” “The impact of this legisla- tion is enormous. This is an exciting time for New Jersey in how we can compete with neighboring states,” said Kos- sar. A key player in the equation is the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC), whose senior business advocate, Noel McGuire, described its role as “putting incentive packages on the table and working with our partners to retain and attract businesses.” One new partner, he noted, is higher education: “Academia is a key resource.” The four components of BAC, he said, focus on international trade, planning, small business assistance and a call center that provides general business assistance. “We quantify the available incentives, tax cred- its and other factors, creating written proposals to provide enough information to help companies make a business decision,” McGuire said. E

Other BAC services include site searches, real estate avail- ability, and permitting and regulatory assistance, part- nering with county and local governments for the latter. “The competition in economic development is very tough, requiring a pro-active local ap- proach,” McGuire said. A pro-active approach is the mantra of Choose New Jersey, a privately funded organization formed to market the state as a business destination. “We look to put New Jersey on the map as a premier business destina- tion,” Michael Chrobak , chief

economic development officer, told attendees. “Our goal is to leverage strategic and collab- orative partnerships to raise the awareness of the state’s assets and align companies with those assets.” Among Choose New Jer- sey’s tools are a “concierge service” that acts as a liaison between state agencies and business connections; and two new “apps” – one that serves as an incentives calculator, an- other that showcases available properties. And Choose New Jersey’s outreach is indeed far-reaching: It has included

missions to Israel, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Taiwan, Italy and many more, Chrobak noted. The bottom line? To date, Grow New Jersey’s efforts have resulted in 68 approv- als and $1.3 billion in capital investment, with “more than half of that in distressed com- munities,” noted New Jersey EDA’s Lizura. ERG has created 13 projects and $1.7 billion of investments. “Forty percent of Grow New Jersey approvals support manufacturing, and 77 percent of ERG-supported proj- ects are residential,” he said.

“The numbers speak for themselves – numbers that are exceeding the competi- tion,” said Jay Biggins of BLS Strategies. While cautioning that the numbers “may not last forever,” the state’s programs “are having the intended ef- fect. It is irresponsible for a company not to take New Jer- sey seriously – we are talking to clients who would not have considered New Jersey without these incentives.” Dan Breen of JLL reiter- ated that “the competition is intense, especially with continued on page 10B

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MAREJ - $40MM - Drexelbrook Apartments - J. Bologno P. Gilbert - 11-14-14.indd 1

10/20/14 3:57 PM

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