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NEWARK-The first ever Urban Developer’s Night sponsored by the Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers Association of the New York Metropolitan Area drew a crowd of 170. The event was held Monday evening at the Robert Treat Hotel here.

The event was conceived by Sean Brady, IOREBA secretary and senior director at Cushman & Wakefield in East Rutherford. Previously, similar gatherings focused on the suburbs. “This type of event didn’t exist and we need them,” he said. “Nobody was doing anything to showcase the cities of New Jersey.” He pointed out that with much of the state’s incentive packages geared toward urban areas, tenants need to know how they can lower their overhead costs by moving to a city core.

The evening’s speaker, Tim Lizura, senior vice president of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, spoke about those incentive programs, which focus on three strategic aims: project assistance to businesses; promoting a green economy and marketing the State of New Jersey. “We need to talk about what makes New Jersey great,” he said.

Lizura highlighted the state’s Main Street Business Assistance Program, which aids small and mid-sized firms through loan guarantees from the state. He furthered mentioned that the InvestNJ program, which provides capital investment and job creation grants for New Jersey businesses, has already reached its funding limit of $120 million.

In June, he said the state is going to roll out an initiative that will offer money to companies who wish to reduce their greenhouse emissions by retrofitting their real estate. The dollars will either come in the form of grants or low-cost loans, he said.

Lizura also told the crowd that amendments to the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act are on track to be passed by the senate in June and have the support of the governor. Among the revisions is a lowering of the limit on the total capital investment in an urban project from $75 million to $50 million. “This makes it a much more viable program,” he said.

Other initiatives in the works are changes to the current Revenue Allocation District Financing Act and the institution of a tax-exempt bond program similar to Liberty Bonds in Lower Manhattan. Lizura said the latter will help reduce the cost of institutional investment in the state. “It’s an exciting new tool in the tool box,” he said. Lizura also noted that under the federal stimulus program, each state will get $150 million.

The event also featured about 30 exhibits from local developers, architects, contractors and the Brick City Development Corp., Newark’s economic development agency.

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