NJ grants nearly $400M to spur urban development

June 13, 2011 12:14PM

In its continued effort to reign in suburban sprawl and improve inner cities, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved tax credits worth $394 million for 10 projects near rail hubs, the Wall Street Journal reported. The tax credits are awarded under the urban transit tax credit, first passed in 2007, and instituted to spark development in struggling central business districts. To qualify for the credit, property owners must make at least $50 million worth of investments within a half-mile of a rail station, on a project that supports at least 250 full-time employees. The most high-profile of these credits was a $102 million subsidy awarded to Panasonic in its move from Secaucus to Newark. Other beneficiaries include the Gateway Transit Village, where New Brunswick Development and Pennrose Properties are building a $150 million mixed-use residential center. While the Economic Development Authority claims the initiative will prove its value as it helps the state’s central business districts recover from years of neglect and the recent downturn, the program does have its opponents. Some question the authority’s power to grant the tax credits, while many have voiced concern over using so much taxpayer money to subsidize the relocation of a global powerhouse company like Panasonic. As The Real Deal first reported in April, SJP Properties was chosen to develop the company’s $190 million, 325,000-square-foot Newark headquarters, which is slated to open in 2013. [WSJ]