Leadership Newark Admits Roosevelt J. Donat to its Public Policy Fellowship Program, Class of 2020

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Murphy Partners LLP is proud to announce that Roosevelt J. Donat has been admitted to the Leadership Newark Public Policy Fellowship Program, class of 2020.  

Established in 1998, Leadership Newark, Inc. was born out of a desire to strengthen the City of Newark’s civic infrastructure through public policy enrichment and leadership training & development.  Why the focus on public policy issues – because government policy affects the entire community. Why the focus on leadership training & development – to enable those armed with a deeper understanding of community issues to develop the skills necessary to make change and have lasting impact. As a result, the founders determined it would be wise to tap Newark & New Jersey’s greatest asset – it’s people to make a difference. Leadership Newark invests in the intellectual capital of the community to improve the state of affairs for the greater good.

Key stakeholders in a variety of sectors, including government, business, corporate, nonprofit,  and education were brought together to assess the type of support such a program would garner. It was determined not only would such a program be supported, but it was needed to help the City of Newark undergo a Renaissance.  As a result the organization designed a leadership development program. Today, Leadership Newark is known for administering a 2-year public policy fellowship program attracting diverse, active and committed professionals to participate in a program that expand their knowledge and pushes one to delve deeper into the public discourse to improve community.

In addition to the flagship public policy fellowship program, Leadership Newark has expanded to offer additional programs reaching youth, teens and adult populations.  The programs include board service training, public policy summits, board match/placement and special initiatives to support local nonprofits. The network is 600+ strong. The personal achievements and collective impact can be felt throughout the City, County, and State.

In 2014, Senator Cory Booker during his tenure as mayor for the City of Newark stated, “My Administration has been a great beneficiary of the tremendous work of Leadership Newark….And, we are partnering with dozens of organizations throughout the City that are being led by Leadership Newark alumnae. The impact of Leadership Newark is being felt throughout our great City.”

In April 2016, Mayor Ras Baraka notes, “Leadership Newark has played a major role in our City’s transformation, by working tirelessly to build the future we want for the City we love. I am proud of the vital role Leadership Newark is playing as a partner in our work. Truly, Leadership Newark is a winner.”

“I have no doubt that Roosevelt’s deep commitment to the City of Newark and the State of New Jersey and his understanding of the intersection of law, business, policy, nonprofit and government will make him a great addition to Leadership Newark. As a firm, we are proud of his continued dedication to serving the Newark community.” says Kellen F. Murphy, managing partner at Murphy Partners LLP.


For more information on Leadership Newark, please visit https://www.leadershipnewark.org/.

New Jersey Incentive Update - November 2018

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This morning, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will hold its monthly board meeting. Among the actions to be taken, the Board will adopt new rules for the Film & Digital Media Tax Credit Program, and consider three applications under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ).

Created by legislation passed earlier this year, the Film & Digital Media Tax Credit Program will allow for taxpayers (in most cases, production companies) to seek a tax credit for qualified film production and digital media content production expenses. Applications will be approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury. Approved applicants are entitled to claim a credit against CBT or GIT liability in an amount equal to 30 percent (35 percent in limited cases) of the qualified film production expenses or 20 percent (25 percent in limited cases) of the qualified digital media content production expenses.

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) is the State’s main job creation and retention incentive program. Under the Grow NJ program, businesses creating or retaining jobs in the State may be eligible for tax credits ranging from $500 to $5,000 per job, per year; with bonus credits ranging from $250 to $3,000 per job, per year (awards vary based on applicable criteria).

The Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 250 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.7 billion in tax credits. Approved applicants generally have three years to certify, or complete, a project. A project is deemed complete when the applicant has hired or retained the number of employees listed in its application, and satisfied the program’s capital investment requirements. Once certified, the 250 projects will drive over $4.5 billion in private capital investment, create over 32,000 new jobs, and retain over 35,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

If interested in learning more about these programs, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Murphy at (973) 877-6984 or cmurphy@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.


Real Estate Alert: Commercial Leasing in Transit Hubs

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By John McDonough, partner at Murphy Partners LLP

Economic indicators, as reported by Cushman & Wakefield’s MarketBeat Quarterly Report, paint what should be a rosy picture for Manhattan retail: The City achieved record-breaking employment in the second quarter of 2018 and tourism is booming.  And yet, according to the same report, “luxury brand corridors, such as Madison Avenue and Upper-Fifth Avenue, are recording limited retail leasing activity.”  Increasingly, brick-and-mortar stores are having trouble generating foot traffic as they compete with the convenience of e-commerce.   However, transit hub markets, like the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station and Grand Central, offer a captive, twice-per-day answer to that retail market-share attrition. 

For potential tenants, leasing space in a transit hub means leasing from a governmental entity.  Here are a few lease terms that potential tenants should be aware of when negotiating with a governmental entity for space in a transit hub:

  • Tenant Improvement Allowance.  For the most part, unlike private-sector landlords, governmental entities will not directly subsidize a tenant’s initial buildout.  Rather, tenants will need to negotiate for rent credits, in the form of free-rent periods.  On Port Authority retail leases, for example, rent typically commences upon the earlier of a set number of months from the date possession is tendered or the date tenant opens for business.  This structure is designed to give the tenant an opportunity to complete its buildout before having to pay rent, but savvier tenants can use the free rent period as an indirect way to offset their upfront capital expenses. This can be achieved by negotiating for free-rent period longer than needed to complete the build-out, striking the ‘earlier of’ language, and getting architectural plans approved before taking possession of the premises. 

  • Termination Without Cause.  Governmental leases in transportation facilities will frequently allow the landlord to terminate the lease without cause upon 30-days’ notice to the tenant.  To soften the severity of this provision, the lease will typically require reimbursement of the tenant’s unamortized capital expenses.  Additionally, tenants should ensure that their lease requires reimbursement of all capital expense, not just initial build-out, and should negotiate for an initial lock-out period during which the landlord would not be able to exercise termination without cause.

Transit hub retail is no longer limited to coffee carts and newsstands.  In the metro-New York City market, transit hubs have transformed into vibrant and dynamic shopping centers and destinations rather than merely waiting areas.  Retailers looking to harness this vital foot traffic should watch for some of the key differences in a retail lease from a governmental landlord. 

For more information on this topic, please feel free to contact John McDonough at (973) 877-6984 or jmcdonough@murphyllp.com.

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.

New Jersey Incentive Update - October 2018

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On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will hold its monthly board meeting. Among the actions to be taken, the Board will consider two applications under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ). If approved, the two applicants could receive over $8,600,000 in tax credits (over 10 years).

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) is the State’s main job creation and retention incentive program. Under the Grow NJ program, businesses creating or retaining jobs in the State may be eligible for tax credits ranging from $500 to $5,000 per job, per year; with bonus credits ranging from $250 to $3,000 per job, per year (awards vary based on applicable criteria).

The Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 250 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.7 billion in tax credits. Approved applicants generally have three years to certify, or complete, a project. A project is deemed complete when the applicant has hired or retained the number of employees listed in its application, and satisfied the program’s capital investment requirements. Once certified, the 250 projects will drive over $4.5 billion in private capital investment, create over 32,000 new jobs, and retain over 35,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

If interested in learning more about Grow NJ or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Murphy at (973) 877-6984 or cmurphy@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.


Incentive Alert: Governor Murphy Proposes New Incentive Programs

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On Monday, Governor Murphy outlined his plan for revamping New Jersey’s main incentive programs, including the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program, which are set to expire in July of 2019. While the creation of any new program will require new legislation, this is the first step in a process that will likely result in new incentive programs for businesses and developers.

The NJ Forward Tax Credit Program (NJ Forward) will likely take the place of Grow NJ as the State’s main job attraction incentive program. As proposed, NJ Forward will focus primarily on high-wage, high-growth sectors, including life sciences, information and high tech, clean energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced transportation and logistics, finance and insurance, and food and beverage. While the report does not outline specific programmatic details, it states that the proposed program will:

  • Increase focus on global/U.S. headquarters, R&D activities, and foreign direct investments

  • Prioritize new job creation rather than retained jobs

  • Encourage job creation in urban centers and other distressed communities, particularly those with public transit assets

  • Include an annual award cap and review to ensure fiscal sustainability and transparency

  • Feature lower base per-job credit amounts more in line with neighboring states, as well as more focused bonuses that ensure the administration’s policy goals

  • Limit transfers of credits to ensure that job-creating companies reap the primary benefits of taxpayer investment

  • Reward companies that invest in employee skill development and training

The NJ Aspire Tax Credit Program (NJ Aspire) will likely take the place of ERG as the State’s main incentive for developers. The administration is proposing the creation of a new place-based gap financing tool to help catalyze investments in commercial, residential, and mixed-use (including parking) projects, with a particular focus on cities, downtowns, and suburban neighborhoods served by mass transit. As proposed, the program will facilitate the conversion of surface parking lots, vacant and/or abandoned lots, and other underutilized properties into job and tax-generating development opportunities. The program will also assist in the development of market-rate housing in distressed communities and, where appropriate, mixed-income and affordable housing near transit in suburban communities. NJ Aspire will be structured as a competitive tax credit grant, giving the NJEDA discretion in awarding grants to the most impactful and development-ready project.

In addition to NJ Forward and NJ Aspire, the report also calls for the creation of a new remediation and development tax credit program and a dedicated NJEDA loan fund to support brownfield redevelopment, the creation of a state historic preservation tax credit program, and multiple programs aimed at encouraging venture capital investment in high-growth, high-wage sectors.

If interested in learning more about these or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Murphy at Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 723-7036 or cmurphy@murphyllp.com.

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.


New Jersey Incentive Update - September 2018

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On Thursday, September 13, 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will hold its monthly board meeting. Among the actions to be taken, the Board will consider four applications under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ). If approved, the four applicants could receive over $87,000,000 in tax credits (over 10 years).

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) is the State’s main job creation and retention incentive program. Under the Grow NJ program, businesses creating or retaining jobs in the State may be eligible for tax credits ranging from $500 to $5,000 per job, per year; with bonus credits ranging from $250 to $3,000 per job, per year (awards vary based on applicable criteria).

The Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 246 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.6 billion in tax credits. Approved applicants generally have three years to certify, or complete, a project. A project is deemed complete when the applicant has hired or retained the number of employees listed in its application, and satisfied the program’s capital investment requirements. Once certified, the 246 projects will drive over $4.4 billion in private capital investment, create over 30,000 new jobs, and retain over 35,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

If interested in learning more about Grow NJ or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 877-6984 or info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.

Murphy Partners LLP Continues to Expand with Addition of New Partner

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Murphy Partners LLP is pleased to announce that John P. McDonough will be joining the firm as a partner in the firm’s Commercial Real Estate Group.

John is an experienced transactional real estate attorney. As a partner in the firm, John’s practice will focus on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including office and retail leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, and real estate finance, including restructuring and workouts. He will also advise clients in connection with business transactions, construction law, and other commercial matters.

Prior to joining the firm, John spent nearly a decade as an attorney at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he represented the bi-state agency in a diverse array of real estate, construction, and development matters. He also served as bond counsel for the agency and worked extensively on the development of the World Trade Center and Transit Hub.

Following his time at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, John served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Jersey City, where he regularly advised the City on commercial real estate and development matters.

“We are incredibly excited to have John join our growing team. He is a seasoned attorney, with experience handling complex commercial real estate transactions in both New Jersey and New York. His experience will be instrumental in our continued commitment to providing clients with effective legal solutions,” says Kellen F. Murphy, the firm’s managing partner.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the dynamic team at Murphy Partners and look forward to contributing to the firm’s future growth and success as a leader in the New Jersey and New York real estate legal market,” says John P. McDonough.

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.

Incentive Alert: Governor Murphy Signs the ERG Bond Financing Act

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On August 17, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Bond Financing Act (P.L. 2018, c. 97), which creates a mechanism to finance projects under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program.

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the ERG program is the State’s primary incentive for developers. Pursuant to the program rules, a developer that can demonstrate that its redevelopment project requires a subsidy to close a project financing gap may apply for a grant equaling no more than 20% of the total cost of a project (30% in a Garden State Growth Zone), of which the developer must make a 20% equity investment.

In accordance with a redevelopment incentive grant agreement, beginning upon the receipt of occupancy permits for any portion of the redevelopment project, the developer will receive incremental State revenues directly realized from businesses operating on or at the site of the redevelopment project. The developer may apply for an incentive grant in the amount up to 75% of the annual incremental tax revenues generated by the project over a 20 year period. If the redevelopment project is located within a Garden State Growth Zone, 85% of the projected annual incremental revenues may be pledged toward the award.

Prior to the enactment of the ERG Bond Financing Act, developers receiving awards under the ERG program were required to seek financing for up-front costs associated with the project, as the ERG payments were unavailable until the project had been fully completed and certified. The ERG Bond Financing Act creates a mechanism for developers to monetize an ERG award by allowing the municipality in which a project is located to (either directly or through an application to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority or similar public instrumentality of the State) issue bonds secured by a pledge of the ERG grant payments, and further secured by municipal liens and/or special assessments on the property benefiting from the improvements. This will allow developers to finance the up-front costs associated with construction, without having to seek gap financing.

If interested in learning more about state and local development incentives, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 723-7036 or info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.

Incentive Alert: Rutgers University Report Recommends Changes to New Jersey’s Business Incentive Programs

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On Wednesday, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) submitted a report to Governor Phil Murphy, conducted by Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, which (among other things) recommended changes to the State’s business incentive programs, including the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG).

The report (which can be found here) found the following:   

  • There has been a significant volume of project approvals under Grow NJ, which are associated with significant volumes of retained and created jobs, but which will also generate a substantial offset to the Corporate Business Tax and Insurance Premium Tax in the years ahead;

  • Commercial ERG projects leverage a considerable amount of private investment.

  • Given the long lead time associated with Grow NJ and ERG projects, it is too soon to fully evaluate the impact of these programs on the State’s economy;

  • Projects approved under Grow NJ are generally concentrated in the northern, more populous counties of the State. A significant percentage of project funding in the eight southern counties has been concentrated in Camden;

  • Redundancies in the Grow NJ base and bonus award structure are potentially providing more generous incentives than intended by the statute;

  • Because certain bonuses have been underutilized, it is not clear that the program has advanced certain policy goals intended by the legislation such as clean energy investment and the creation of incubators;

  • There is an opportunity to improve EDA’s analysis of proposed incentive projects.

The report suggested the following to improve the programs:

  • A deeper analysis of the types and quality of jobs created or retained, and whether some or all of the related economic activity would have happened with lower or no incentives.

  • A review of the overall impact of the reduction in Corporate Business Tax revenues (which would be made up for by higher Gross Income Tax from created or retained jobs), given the constitutional requirement that the Gross Income Tax fund property tax relief while the Corporate Business Tax and Insurance Premium Tax are the primary resources for the General Fund.

  • Given the Grow NJ program’s goals of job creation and retention, the report recommends that the alternative approach used in calculating certain awards in the city of Camden (the “Camden alternatives”) be revised to tie awards more closely to the employment created by these firms.

  • NJEDA should consider eliminating or revising the bonus for Transit Oriented Development in Urban Transit Hubs and Garden State Growth Zones. This bonus may be redundant in most cases in these jurisdictions, where it accounts for about 21 percent, or about $250 million of the total award value for projects qualifying for the bonus.

The programs are currently set to expire in July 2019. With the sunset of the programs only a year away, legislators will soon start to discuss potential changes to the programs. While change may be on the horizon, one thing is clear--incentives will continue to be part of New Jersey’s economic development toolkit.

If interested in learning more about state and local incentives, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 877-6984 or info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.

Incentive Alert: New Jersey Legislature Passes ERG Bond Financing Act

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The New Jersey Senate and Assembly have both passed legislation (S-1849 / A-2041), known as the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Bond Financing Act, which will create a mechanism to finance projects under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) grant program.

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the ERG program is the State’s primary incentive for developers. Pursuant to the program rules, a developer that can demonstrate that its redevelopment project requires a subsidy to close a project financing gap may apply for a grant equaling no more than 20% of the total cost of a project (30% in a Garden State Growth Zone), of which the developer must make a 20% equity investment.

In accordance with a redevelopment incentive grant agreement, beginning upon the receipt of occupancy permits for any portion of the redevelopment project, the developer will receive incremental State revenues directly realized from businesses operating on or at the site of the redevelopment project. The developer may apply for an incentive grant in the amount up to 75% of the annual incremental tax revenues generated by the project over a 20 year period. If the redevelopment project is located within a Garden State Growth Zone, 85% of the projected annual incremental revenues may be pledged toward the award.

Currently, developers receiving awards under the ERG program are required to seek financing for up-front costs associated with the project, as the ERG payments are unavailable until the project has been fully completed and certified. The ERG Bond Financing Act seeks to assist developers with up-front project costs by allowing the municipality in which a project is located to (either directly or through an application to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority or similar public instrumentality of the State) issue bonds for projects that receive ERG grants. The bonds would be secured by a pledge of the ERG grant payments, and further secured by municipal liens and/or special assessments on the property benefiting from the improvements.

The bill is currently awaiting the signature of Governor Murphy.

If interested in learning more about state and local development incentives, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 877-6984 or info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.