The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced its first approval in Passaic under a program recently launched to support small businesses in Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs), designated as Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs are designed to support the growth of retail and services in GSGZs by providing grants to street level, new and expanding businesses.
Vidal Travel, a travel service and tax preparation business located at the intersection of Main Avenue and Prospect Street in Passaic for over 25 years, was approved for assistance under the BII program, which offers grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, up to a maximum of $20,000, for improvements made to the first floor of a facility in an eligible GSGZ. A $20,000 grant will reimburse costs associated with replacement of Vidal Travel’s sidewalk, improving access to the business and enhancing the surrounding streetscape.
“The launch of the BII program helped to make the decision to move forward with these improvements make sense,” said Gonzalo Vidal, President, Vidal Travel. “Our sidewalk has needed replacement for some time, and it’s a complex undertaking. This grant is helping to offset the cost of improving the safety and appearance of our business and the community.”
Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the BLI and BII programs are available to businesses in targeted commercial corridors. The programs are available on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs.
“We hope business owners in eligible areas will consider applying for the BLI and BII programs to assist them in establishing or improving their businesses,” said EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura. “These programs help position businesses to take advantage of the uptick in foot traffic in areas where increased investment and economic activity are already underway, driven by programs the EDA administers under the EOA.”
In addition to the BII program, the BLI program offers reimbursement of fifteen percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet can be eligible, but the BLI grant will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet.Related Articles: