Norcross Bill To Offer Tax Credits To Developers, Spur Investment Near Urban Transit Centers Clears Both Houses

Camden Among Nine Municipalities Where Tax Credits Would Be Available For Mixed-Use Developments

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to expand eligibility for investors to take advantage of state tax credits for mixed-use development projects located near urban transit centers was approved today by the Senate and the Assembly.

The bill is part of the recently unveiled “Back to Work NJ” legislative initiative to create jobs and promote the state as a better place for business. The measure (S-2183) would provide developers involved in $50 million mixed-use projects with tax credits of up to 100 percent of a minimum $17.5 million investment in the commercial aspect of the development, and of up to 20 percent for a $17.5 million minimum investment in a project’s residential component.

Currently, the tax credits are available for commercial or residential projects; however, to qualify, each investor must separately meet the $50 million minimum investment threshold. Senator Norcross said the expansion of eligibility would encourage redevelopment in the state’s urban centers, creating construction jobs as well as new homes for business.

“Expanding eligibility for tax credits will provide a greater incentive for developers to invest in the redevelopment of our cities, and encourage the types of projects that make sense,” added Norcross. “Especially in areas with mass transit, mixed-use facilities can be a real asset – attracting new residents, businesses and additional investors.”

A proposed project in Camden would fall under the new program guidelines contained in the bill. The Transit Village project would revitalize 15 acres adjacent to the Ferry Avenue PATCO Station, which currently consists of abandoned warehouses. It would include 200,000 square feet of office development, a grocery store, 400+ housing units, and ground floor retail space, all in a market that has seen no private development of this scale in more than a generation. It is estimated the Transit Village would create 900 permanent jobs, as well as hundreds of immediate construction jobs when work starts.

David Foster, President of the Greater Camden Partnership, who testified in support of the measure when it appeared before the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee hearing, said the bill “makes good economic sense.”

“In urban spaces like Camden there is little opportunity for large-scale isolated office or residential developments,” Foster said. “Joint live-work spaces are the key to revitalizing the city and increasing the use of mass transit.”

“Passing this legislation is a huge step forward for the Transit Village project,” Foster added. “Thanks to this legislation, we’ll be building within the year at the latest.”

In Camden, transit hub tax credits are available to developers building within one mile of a rail or light rail station. In the other eight eligible cities – East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, Trenton, and Hoboken – an urban transit hub is the area within a one-half mile radius around a rail or light rail station.

The bill was approved in the Senate by a vote of 29-6. The Assembly passed it by a vote of 55-21. It now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Christie.