The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the creation of a new Brownfields Loan Program, aimed at providing low interest financing to help fund the remediation and cleanup of abandoned or underutilized brownfields site. The hope is that some of these sites will be rejuvenated and put back into active use throughout the state. As part of a larger effort to drive companies to invest in underserved communities, the brownfields loan program is expected to help build cleaner, safer communities where businesses and residents can flourish. The cleanup and repurposing of contaminated sites can ultimately allow for economic growth, protection of the environment and residents, and a reduction of the detrimental effects of urban sprawl.
These low interest loans will provide bridge financing to make formerly daunting projects more financially viable. Potential brownfields site purchasers or current brownfields site owners could potentially get financing of up to $5,000,000 to cover the costs associated with environmental assessment and investigation, environmental remediation, hazardous material or waste disposal, and issues associated with existing structures such as demolition or asbestos abatement. The brownfields loans are meant to finance the remediation of a project that has a complete plan for redevelopment or reuse of the site.
To be eligible for funding, the NJEDA will conduct a review of the project application to determine project feasibility or if a gap in funding does exist. In addition,
Projects that meet these eligibility requirements will be scored by NJEDA staff and finding will be made available through competitive application rounds. Priority funding within each round will be determined by the highest overall score, considering a variety of factors including location, length of time the site has been vacant, and alignment to local revitalization plans.
Projects that meet these requirements will be given a standard 3% fixed interest rate for the brownfield loan. In the event that the project supports specific community development goals, it may be eligible for interest rate reductions at the discretion of the NJEDA. Projects might include mixed-use, residential development with an affordable housing component, food service delivery sources in urban food deserts, primary healthcare services, electric vehicle charging stations, smart growth parking, or collaborative work spaces.
In the State of New Jersey, environmental assessment and remediation projects may seem daunting due to all of the changing rules and regulations but enlisting the support of an LSRP will help you navigate all of the aspects of your project from assessment to redevelopment. Having an experienced LSRP on your project team will not only help you remain compliant with state and local laws but could find additional avenues to ultimately reduce your potential project costs.