NJ EDA now accepting Commercial Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant applications – 30% of eligible project costs

As of August 16, 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has commenced accepting applications for commercial projects under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program. The Commercial ERG Program is an incentive that is designed to assist developers and businesses address project financing gaps in development or redevelopment projects, including below market development margins or rates of return.

A link to the application and more information is available at https://www.njeda.com/erg.

Qualified projects are eligible to receive an incentive grant reimbursement of up to 30% of total “eligible project costs”. Moreover, projects in Atlantic City, Camden, Paterson, Passaic, and Trenton are eligible to receive reimbursements up to 40% of eligible project costs. Subsidies awarded through the ERG Program are not meant to be a substitute for conventional debt and equity financing.

Prior to applying, prospective applicants are required to have the balance of their funding identified or in place or be able to demonstrate that any terms of other financing are reasonable.

Among other requirements, projects must:

• Be located in a qualifying incentive area.
• Demonstrate that a project financing gap exists.
• Be predominantly commercial and contain 100,000 or more square feet of retail, office, and/or industrial uses for purchase or lease.
• Not have commenced any construction at the site of a proposed redevelopment project prior to submitting an application or demonstrate to the NJEDA that the project would not be completed otherwise or is to be undertaken in phases.
• Demonstrate the tax revenues the State will realize from the project will be greater than the incentive being provided.

Additional information on eligibility for the Commercial ERG Program can be found at the 2021 Commercial Extension Clarification Document at https://www.njeda.com/erg.

All applicants are required to submit an application via the NJEDA’s online application at https://application.njeda.com/. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted or Thursday, December 30, 2021.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of P-3, public private partnerships and incentives  related alerts, blogs and advice on various P-3 and incentives related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Mike Barz, Nat Abramowitz or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

NJ: $250M Redevelopment Funding for Walter Rand Transportation Center

On February 17th, Governor Murphy, Congressman Norcross, Senate President Sweeney together with local and county officials announced $250 Million for the redevelopment of the Walter Rand Transportation Center (WRTC) in Camden, NJ. This will be the center’s first major renovation since opening in 1989.

The WRTC Improvement Project will upgrade and enlarge the existing facility and accommodate future transit development and the potential for new retail, office, housing and hospitality opportunities utilizing Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) design standards.

The project will ultimately replace the existing facility with an expanded multi-purpose transit center that in intended to provide an improved link for transportation in South Jersey and serve as an interlink to between the NJ Transit bus system, and the light rail systems of PATCO and the River Line.

It has been reported that NJ TRANSIT plans to issue an RFP from qualified professional firms to conduct Conceptual Design, Preliminary Engineering, Final Design Engineering, and Construction Assistance for the WRTC Improvement Project.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who engage in the public-private partnership (P-3) space where State based incentives are often critical to the success of a project.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Mike Barz, Paul Josephson, Sheila Slocum Hollis, or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

NJ – Governor Murphy signs $14B Incentive Program Bill – the NJ Economic Recovery Act of 2020

As of today, January 7, 2020, Governor Murphy has signed into law the NJ Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (the “NJERA”), a bill that creates a 7-year, $14 Billion Dollar package of tax incentives to attract and retain NJ based businesses and real estate development projects.

The 249-page NJEDA outlines new tax incentives to replace the expired NJ GROW and ERG programs and expands or creates new subsidies for film and television production, revitalizing brownfields and assisting so-called food deserts, among other areas, all while creating financial caps and oversight for the programs and the state agency that manages them.

Under the NJERA, most of the new tax credit programs are subject to a collective $11.5 Billion Dollar cap over 6 years, while allowing for a 7th year of allocations under those programs for uncommitted credits. The NJERA also provides for $2.6 Billion in tax credits over 13 years for projects related to film and television production.

A new office, the Office of Economic Development Inspector General will be created along with a chief compliance officer to manage a Division of Portfolio Management and Compliance to oversee the awards.

Under the new Emerge program, tax credits are available to encourage economic development, job creation and the retention of significant numbers of jobs in imminent danger of leaving the state.

Eligibility is subject to various provisions, including a requirement that the award of tax credits, the resulting capital investment and the resulting job creation or retention will yield a “net positive benefit” to NJ ranging from at least 200 to 400% of the award, depending on the location. Emerge also has minimum requirements and adjustments for the necessary capital investment based on the type of project, the size of the business, the types of jobs at stake and other factors.

Tax credits under both Emerge and a separate program, Aspire, are subject to a combined $1.1 Billion annual cap for 6 years. The NJERA also calls for the $1.1 Billion annual cap to be split so that up to $715 million of tax credits will be for projects located in 14 northern counties and $385 million for projects in 7 southern counties.

Aspire, the successor to the Economic Redevelopment & Growth program, or ERG, will provide gap financing to development projects that are intended to serve a public policy goal but which would otherwise generate a below-market rate of return. Additionally, the proposal outlines different provisions for commercial and residential projects, providing bonuses for those that serve distressed or targeted communities, along with transit-oriented development and affordable housing.

The NJERA would also allow the Economic Development Authority, which oversees tax incentives, to review each project’s performance and reduce the amount of the subsidy if it determines that the financing gap is smaller than determined at board approval. If there is no project financing gap, then the developer would forfeit the incentive award.

Historic property reinvestment — providing tax credits for part of the cost of rehabilitating historic properties in the state, with a cap of $50 million annually for 6 years;

Film tax credits — amending existing programs to include provisions for so-called New Jersey film partners and New Jersey film-lease partners and allowing an additional $200 million of tax credits annually over 13 years;

Brownfields redevelopment — providing tax credits to compensate developers of redevelopment projects located on polluted sites for remediation costs, with a cap of $50 million annually for 6 years;

Food desert relief — providing tax credits in order to incentivize businesses to establish and retain new supermarkets and grocery stores in underserved communities, with a cap of $40 million annually for 6 years;

The New Jersey Innovation Evergreen program — auctioning tax credits for cash, which will be used to invest in startups and other innovation-focused businesses, with a cap of $60 million annually for 6 years;

Community-anchored development — providing tax credits to anchor institutions to incentivize the expansion of targeted industries in and the continued development of certain areas of the state, with a cap of $200 million annually for 6 years; and

Main Street recovery — providing grants, loans and loan guarantees to small businesses, with an appropriation of $50 million under the bill.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who engage in the public-private partnership space where State based incentives are often critical to the success of a project.  If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Mike Barz, Paul Josephson, Sheila Slocum Hollis, or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

NJ is Close on a New 6-Year, $11.5B Incentives Package designed to Attract and Retain Businesses

At long last, NJ is close to a détente between the Legislature and the Governor’s office on a new business incentives program designed to attract and retain businesses to NJ. The new recovery and reform package will be known as the “New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020,” or Assembly Bill 4. It is scheduled for a remotely-held bill hearing at the Assembly Appropriations Committee Friday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m.

According to Tim Sullivan, the CEO of NJ Economic Development Authority, the new 6 year, $11.5B incentives program will focus on job creation, innovation, and helping to solve longstanding economic inequality issues.

According to NJ ROI, there will be an Assembly Appropriations Committee meeting Friday, with Assembly and Senate votes likely scheduled for Monday.

Some of the highlights of the program:

Annual Cap – it will have an annual cap of $1.5 billion, with each of the programs having an individual cap;

Per Jobs Cap and Per Business Cap – it will cap per-job credits and total credits per business — the previous program had no limits on either — and awards will be focused on high-growth industries;

Transformational Projects – there will be an additional fund of approximately $2.5 billion for yet-to-be-defined “transformational” projects, thus giving the state the ability to offer massive incentives for Amazon-like projects;

North/South Jersey – the program will include a North-South agreement, with approximately 1 of every 3 dollars reserved for the seven counties that make up South Jersey;

Credits – it will include a food desert alleviation program, a state-level Historic Tax Credit, a brownfields remediation program and a program designed to support expansion of anchor institutions like higher education, hospitals and arts/culture institutions;

Evergreen Investment – it will include the Governor’s Evergreen investment program;

Main Street Businesses – it will have a $50 million direct appropriation to support Main Street businesses through grants, loans and technical assistance. It will do so with 25% being set aside to directly support minority- and women-owned firms; and

Prevailing Wage – it will require community benefit agreements that include prevailing wage rules and new requirements for building service workers.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who engage in the public-private partnership space where State based incentives are often critical to the success of a project.  If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Mike Barz, Paul Josephson, Sheila Slocum Hollis, or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ Announces Additional COVID-19 related Restrictions – Restricting Indoor Food service after 10 PM and Indoor Sports

As of this morning, November 9, 2020, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy is set to follow through on his weekend commentary to impose new COVID-19 related restrictions given NJ’s continued increasing COVID-19 numerics.

Per NJBIZ, the Murphy administration has indicated that bars and restaurants will soon need to close all indoor service by 10 p.m. Interstate indoor organized sports will also be prohibited indefinitely, according to sources in the Murphy administration.

The Governor will announce the restrictions, and provide additional details, during his 1 p.m. news conference.

Specifically, restaurants, casinos and bars will be prohibited from serving food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and these new rules will take effect on November 12, 2020. Restrictions will also be placed on seating.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: NJ revises COVID Guidance for Public Gatherings – Self Service Food, Indoor Malls, Athletic Events and Private Tutoring Facilities

On October 31, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy and the head of the New Jersey State Police modified certain restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in New Jersey. The modifications are set forth in Administrative Order 2020-22 (the “AO”).

Key topics include the prohibition of self service food such as buffets and salad bars ; the allowance of indoor shopping mall vending machine and stroller rentals but prohibiting valet and play areas; the loosing of how we count maximum gatherings for athletic competition; and the allowance of private tutoring facilities to reopen for students and clients.

1.  Self-service FoodSelf service food such as buffets and salad bars are prohibited at retail businesses, like grocery stores, under the AO.  Note that self-service drinks are still permitted, but only if they are routinely and effectively cleaned and sanitized.

2.  Indoor Shopping Malls:

  • Vending machines and stroller rentals are now permitted to be operated at malls as long as they are sanitized, but playgrounds and valet parking must remain closed.
  • Valet Parking and communal play areas are NOT permitted at indoor malls

3.  Athletic events (including those for professional sports and collegiate athletic competitions) are still subject to Executive Orders 161 and 183 but, the AO confirms that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers and other individuals necessary to the performance of a competitive sporting event are NOT included in the number of individuals for gathering limits purposes.

For indoor athletic competitions, the amount of people permitted in such venues is capped at 150 people or 25% of the room’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Masks are required to be worn by spectators and non-athletes at both indoor and outdoor venues (except if under 2 years of age, where it is impracticable for an individual to wear a masks (such as when eating or drinking) or when doing so would violate Federal or State law.

4.  Private Tutoring Facilities: Private tutoring facilities may reopen for students and other clients.

For a copy of the Administrative Order No. 2020-22 –  please see https://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20201031/63/af/39/ad/30c4bf2e846cbe2de8b48b61/AO_2020-22.pdf

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ updates its Moratorium on Residential Utilities and their ability to pursue Non-Payment

Last week, NJ updated its guidance on COVID-19 related charges for most utilities in Executive Order 190.

Water, Gas, and Electricity:

No household may have its electricity, gas service, or water service shut off for nonpayment. This moratorium on utility shutoffs is extended to at least March 15, 2021 and applies to all residential gas, electric and water utilities, both public and private.

If there is any customer whose service has been disconnected since March 16, 2020, their service must be reconnected.

In addition, utilities will not be charging late fees nor fees to reconnect services that have been disconnected.

Although utility service shutoffs are still suspended, customers are still encouraged to set up payment plans with their utilities so they can begin paying their bills, if they are able, over a period of time.

According to NJ State published information on line, if you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your utility company about assistance programs and payment plans, or visit BPU’s “Assistance Programs” page for information about programs that can help.

Note: For any questions about your service, first contact your utility company. A list of public gas and electricity utility company phone numbers is available here.

If you are unable to resolve an issue with your utility company, you should contact BPU’s Customer Assistance team by filling out this online form, or by calling (800) 624-0241 and leaving a voicemail.

Phone and Internet:

No cable or telecommunications provider that provides residential internet and voice services to New Jersey residents shall terminate these services due to nonpayment before November 15.

After November 15, cable and telecommunications providers are required to enroll customers with an already existing account in an interest free payment plan of at least 12 equal monthly installments, including the balance already due, prior to disconnecting the customers service.

For households with school-age children who need Internet connectivity for remote-learning, Internet shutoffs will not be permitted through March 15, 2021. If a household experiences a change of circumstances where school age children will be using their home Internet service for school, the cable and telecommunications company will be required to reconnect that Internet service.

Source: Executive Order No. 190

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ announces updated COVID era Sports rules and regulations

As of last week, NJ organized sports activities can resume.

As of October 12, no-contact practices, contact practices, and competitions for sports defined as “Low Risk”, “Medium Risk”, and “High Risk” are permitted in both outdoor and indoor settingsLow-risk, non-contact sports include golf and tennis. Medium- and high-risk sports include baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, football hockey, judo, boxing, karate, wrestling, rugby, and group dance.

All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25% of the room capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer. However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, exceeds 25, the practice or competition may proceed if no unnecessary individuals such as spectators are present.

Even if this exception applies, the number of individuals at the practice or competition cannot exceed 25% of the capacity of the room, and such limit cannot exceed 150 persons.

Outdoor competitions or tournaments must abide by the limit on outdoor gatherings, which is currently limited to 500 people.

Facilities and participants must also abide by a number of health and safety protocols outlined in the Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities,” such as screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limitations on equipment sharing; and requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and equipment.

Staff, parents, guardians, and visitors are required to wear face coverings at practices and games. Athletes are encouraged to wear masks during downtime, but not during physical activity.

The Department of Health’s guidance also includes further details on which sports are defined in which category, how to create a sports program preparation plan, how to prepare a facility for sports practices, how to conduct sports practices, and how to prepare for games and tournaments.

Fall School Sports Season

Sports under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) must also abide by those associations’ rules.

The final determination on the fall high school sports seasons will be made by the NJSIAA, and school districts will make the ultimate decision on whether teams will resume competition.

Under the NJSIAA’s current plan, competition may start September 28 for girls tennis and on October 1 for all other sports except football, which will kick off its season on October 2.

Regular seasons will conclude on October 23 for girl’s tennis, November 7 for football, and November 12 for all other fall sports. Limited postseason play will run from October 24 through October 31 for girls tennis, and November 13 through November 22 for all other sports.

Schools that do not participate in the postseason may continue to play until November 22, with the exception being Thanksgiving football games. These are permissible after November 22, at each school’s discretion. No other fall sports competition will be allowed after November 22.

For additional information and updates, refer to theNJSIAA’s COVID-19 alert page.

NOTE: A student-athlete’s ability to participate with their team will not be altered in any way – regardless of whether they participate in remote-learning or in-person instruction.

A new law waives the requirement to complete an annual pre-participation physical examination for any student-athlete enrolled in grade six to 12 who either completed a physical examination during the 2019-2020 school year or completed a physical examination that allowed the student to participate on a school-sponsored interscholastic or intramural athletic team or squad during the 2019-2020 school year.

A student-athlete who has not completed a physical examination within 365 days prior to the first day of official practice in the athletic season is permitted to participate on a school-sponsored athletic team provided they complete the physical examination before the end of the athletic season.

Professional Sports

Professional sports teams which train or play in New Jersey can practice and engage in games or matches, if their leagues resume competition.

The State has been in constant discussions with these teams about the protocols they will have in place to protect the health and safety of the players, coaches, and team personnel – including facilities where proper sanitation and hygiene practices can be readily maintained.

Source: Executive Order No. 148Executive Order No. 149Guidance for Sports ActivitiesExecutive Order No. 161Executive Order No. 163https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200812b.shtmlExecutive Order No. 187

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ announces reopening of Gyms and Indoor Amusement Facilities – 9-1-20

As of today, August 26, 2020, Governor Murphy announced the reopening of gyms and indoor amusement facilities effective as of September 1, 2020. Reopening will include a 25% of capacity limitation and typical safety protocols including masks, social distancing, one way traffic, etc.

Per a press release from Planet Fitness as reported in NJ Patch, “Fitness centers are critical to the mental, physical and financial health for New Jerseyans, and we are grateful that Governor Murphy has announced that we can reopen with safety protocols in place,” said Craig Benson, who operates 18 Planet Fitness locations in the state. “Throughout the reopening process, we will continue to collaborate with local, county and state health officials to ensure that our members can work out again in a safe, clean, and welcoming environment, and our staff can get back to work.”

With respect to gyms:

  • group fitness classes are to be limited to 1 person per 200 SF of space;
  • logs are to be maintained for members and staff;
  • 6′ of distance between pieces of equipment;
  • required sanitization of equipment; and
  • showers are NOT permitted to be open

Many gyms and eating establishments will look to include some or all of the following in their safety protocols:

◦Limited capacity to comply with social distancing;

◦Advanced air filtration systems with high-grade filters;

◦Masks required at all times;

◦Well-stocked cleaning stations with hand sanitizer;

◦Posters explaining best-health practices displayed throughout the facility or gym; 

◦High-tech electrostatic disinfecting sprayers for the tables and gyms as well as equipment;

◦One-way flow for foot traffic;

◦Temperature checks for staff members at the start of each shift in addition to health questionnaire;

◦Touchless check-in;

◦Cleaning of tables and/or machines before and after each use; and

◦ Having an ample supply of PPE equipment for staff and members including masks and gloves.

Indoor dining and movie theatres are expected to be reopened on or before September 14th.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

Cannabis: Governor Wolf calls on PA Legislature to pass a Recreational Cannabis Bill; $1B of CARES relief

Earlier today, August 25, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana and use the tax revenue to help small businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Gov. Wolf’s proposal on recreational marijuana was part of a package unveiled to spend the $1 billion remaining out of $3.6 billion CARES Act funding. The Governor called for a range of spending that would include $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and another $100 million for restaurants and bars, hospitality and leisure businesses that have taken a big hit since March with business closures and occupancy restrictions.

Tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana would add to the state’s small business funding and half would go to historically disadvantaged businesses.

While the recreational marijuana legalization was NOT tied to CARES Act funding, Gov. Wolf in the news conference said legalization would add even more money to the programs that Pennsylvania residents and businesses would need to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 hit to the economy.

His proposals for the remaining CARES Act funding would also include paid family and sick leave for all Pennsylvanians while announcing six weeks for all state employees; $225 million more in hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million to help employers pay for the cost of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies; and $250 million more in child care investments.

Governor Wolf also wants the alcohol tax to be canceled or reduced for 6 months and also allow bars, restaurants and other hospitality industries to buy alcohol at cost for six months.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. We also have a Cannabis Practice Group that in active in the cannabis regulatory, licensing, IP, real estate and fund raising aspects of the cannabis industry. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Tracy A. Gallegos, Paul Josephson, Seth Goldberg, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe