Legislation to expand tax credit eligibility clears N.J. Senate committee

TRENTON — Legislation to expand eligibility for investors to take advantage of state tax credits for mixed-use development projects located near urban transit centers was approved Wednesday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The bill — which would amend the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program — 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 sponsored by state Sen. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, 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 similar minimum
investment in a project’s residential component.

Norcross said the credits would encourage redevelopment in the state’s urban centers, creating construction jobs as well as new homes for business.

“Using tax credits to jump-start redevelopment in our cities is critical not only to creating new jobs in the construction industries, but for rebuilding communities so that businesses can grow and thrive,” said Norcross. “Giving companies and residents a new incentive to locate our transit hubs is smart planning and smart business.”

David Foster, president of the Greater Camden Partnership, who testified in support of the measure, said the bill “makes good economic sense.”

“In places like Camden, for example, 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.”

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.

Camden is one of nine municipalities where the transit hub tax credits are available, under the state program. The others are East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, Trenton, and Hoboken. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Recent N.J. Statehouse coverage