New Jersey Cities are “Blank Slates” for Redevelopment

706421_13205673_12272011.jpgNew Jersey’s cities once hosted bustling factories and industrial facilities, but they have seen their downtown areas empty over the past five or six decades. Manufacturing jobs have moved elsewhere in the country or overseas, and nothing has moved in to fill the gaps left behind. This has led in many cases to economic stagnation, crime, and other problems associated with declining urban areas. According to a reporter for the Asbury Park Press, however, this is an opportunity to reinvent the centers of New Jersey cities. Lucas Murray examines redevelopment efforts in two cities, Camden and Newark, and sees cause for optimism for New Jersey’s people and businesses.

Newark has the advantage of proximity to New York City, which has in many ways weathered the financial turmoil of the past few years better than many American cities. At least twenty-five renovation projects are underway in Newark, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and associated downtown development. Newark’s mayor’s office reports that 2,500 construction jobs have developed from the $700 million invested in current and recently completed projects. The deputy mayor of economic and housing development expressed the hope for Newark to develop a “24/7 downtown” and to improve its port facilities. The city has also committed substantial resources to improving housing opportunities for immigrant communities from Haiti, Latin America, and Africa.

The Live Where You Work (LWYW) program, operated by the state’s Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency, offers low-interest mortgage loans to people who purchase a residence in the town where they work. Many major towns in New Jersey, including Newark and Camden, participate in the program. Most single-family properties, 2- to 4-family unit properties, and condominiums are eligible for assistance. City leaders hope that this will offer an incentive to draw in new residents and encourage them to invest in a home.

Camden, in southwestern New Jersey, is part of the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, which is still suffering from the impact of the financial crisis. The town once boasted significant manufacturing facilities, but little of that remains. Education will hopefully drive future growth in the Camden, as Rowan University is beginning construction on its Cooper Medical School. When completed, it will join Cooper University Hospital, a Rutgers University campus, and several other schools. According to the Camden mayor’s office, 2,800 applicants have sought admission to the new medical school’s first class of fifty people. New investments in residential areas, along with the support of the LWYW program, indicate the hope that Camden’s educational offerings will attract people to live and work.

Continued development in these and other New Jersey towns offer opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to play a part in recreating the city centers. Construction projects create demand for contractors and service-oriented businesses of all kinds. As the economy makes a slow improvement, New Jersey businesses can make a difference in the state’s new economic landscape.

The New Jersey business lawyers at Samuel C. Berger, PC offer fixed-fee legal services to businesses and investors who conduct business in north New Jersey and New York. To speak to a member of our skilled legal team, contact us today online or at (201) 587-1500.

More Blog Posts:

Small Businesses Added 55,000 New Jobs to the Economy Last Month, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 20, 2011
New Jersey Businesses Are Eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2011
New Jersey Assembly Passes Bill Creating Small Business Loan Program, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 13, 2011
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