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The New Jersey Utilities Association has become the first entity to be approved for a grant under the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s recently launched Business Lease Incentive (BLI) program.

The BLI Program is designed to support the growth of retail and services in Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs) by providing grants to street level, new and expanding businesses. These GSGZs were designated as Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA).

NJUA has occupied a suite at 50 West State Street in Trenton since 1990. The announcement of the BLI Program prompted NJUA’s leadership to consider a move to a street-level location.

After identifying newly renovated space at nearby 154 West State Street, NJUA applied and was approved for assistance under the BLI program. The program offers reimbursement for  a percentage of annual lease payments to for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 to 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term.

NJUA will receive reimbursement of 15 percent of its lease payments after making those payments for one year. This incentive will be paid out for two years after the applicant provides the necessary documentation.

“The BLI program was a key factor in our decision to relocate within Trenton,” said NJUA President Andrew Hendry. “Our new street-level offices on West State Street will increase our visibility and accessibility and enable us to engage more fully with 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.

For more information on the BLI program, visit here.