New Jersey Incentive Update - February 2019

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On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will hold its monthly board meeting in Trenton. Among the actions to be taken, the Board will consider three applications under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ). If approved, the three applicants could receive over $45,866,400 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).

While the Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful, it has been the topic of significant debate, and will likely be modified upon its expiration in July of 2019. Governor Phil Murphy recently outlined his vision for new incentive programs, which would include the creation of the NJ Forward Tax Credit Program (which would take the place of Grow NJ as the State’s main job attraction incentive program) and the NJ Aspire Tax Credit Program (which would take the place of ERG as the State’s main incentive for developers). Below is a more detailed overview of the Governor’s plan.

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 Governor has also called 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 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.


MURPHY PARTNERS ADDS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL AND LITIGATION GROUPS WITH ADDITION OF NEW PARTNER

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NEWARK, NJ, January 14, 2019 — Murphy Partners LLP is pleased to announce that Thomas S. Dolan will be joining the firm as a partner and will lead the firm’s Property Tax Appeal and Litigation practice groups.

Tom has a wealth of experience advising taxpayers and governmental entities on complex real property tax issues and has litigated the value of virtually all property types, including office buildings, retail stores, shopping centers, apartment buildings, industrial facilities, hotels, and unique special purpose properties. He also has extensive experience litigating complex commercial matters in state and federal courts, including class actions, franchise litigation, state tax controversies, commercial contracts, and real estate disputes.

Additionally, Tom has considerable expertise advising non-profit organizations on obtaining and litigating real estate tax exemptions, including arguing before the Supreme Court of New Jersey, where he successfully represented a group of national and local mental health organizations in preserving property tax exemptions for housing for residents with developmental disabilities.

As a valued advisor on Long Term Tax Exemptions and Payment In Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreements, Tom will represent both redevelopers and municipalities through all aspects of the PILOT approval process, from obtaining the proper redevelopment area designation to negotiating and finalizing the terms of the tax agreement.

Prior to joining the firm, Tom was a commercial litigator at the prominent national law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP, where he litigated a wide array of complex commercial matters in state and federal courts across the country. Tom later worked at Skoloff & Wolfe, PC, where he represented taxpayers and municipalities in property tax litigation and advice.

Tom received his law degree from Rutgers School of Law, and his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Rutgers University.

“We are incredibly excited to have Tom join our growing team. He is a seasoned attorney, with significant experience handling complex real property tax and commercial litigation matters and will prove to be a valuable asset to our existing and future clients. 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 am privileged to be joining the talented group of attorneys at Murphy Partners. In a short time, they have distinguished themselves as leaders in the areas of real estate and redevelopment. I am looking forward to contributing to the firm’s continued excellence and its growth in the areas of commercial litigation and real property taxation,” says Thomas S. Dolan.

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: NJEDA Releases Application for NJ Film Tax Credit Program

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On Monday, December 17, 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) released the much-awaited application for the NJ Film Tax Credit Program.

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.

Importantly, the NJEDA only released the application for the film production component of the program. The digital media application is expected to be released in January 2019.

The full press release from the NJEDA can be found here: https://www.njeda.com/filmtaxcreditapplicationrelease

If interested in learning more this program or any other economic incentive program, 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: Legislation Introduced to Amend and Extend the Grow NJ Program

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On November 26, 2018, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin introduced legislation to amend and extend the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (“Grow NJ”). Among the changes to the current program, the bill provides certain reductions and expansions to the ability of a business to qualify for tax credits under the program, including new limits on the size of awards for new and retained jobs, and an extension of the deadline to apply for tax credits to July 2023 (the Grow NJ program is currently set to expire in July 2019).

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, 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.

The full text of the legislation can be found here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A5000/4730_I1.PDF

If interested in learning more about Grow NJ or any other economic incentive program, 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.


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.