PASSAIC, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) today toured the ongoing revitalization of the historic People’s Bank Building, the tallest tower in the City of Passaic, to highlight necessary federal programs that have successfully spurred local economic growth and job creation in underserved communities. The site, located in downtown Passaic, is viewed as the centerpiece of the city’s broader downtown redevelopment plan.
“What my tour of the People’s Bank Building showed me today is that federal initiatives like the New Markets Tax Credit are creating jobs and delivering results for the people of New Jersey,” said Sen. Menendez. “If we want a more competitive, secure, and prosperous future for all New Jerseyans, we can’t ignore the challenges we face. And one of the toughest challenges, not just in New Jersey but across America, is making sure that every community shares in the economic gains we make as a nation. And New Market Tax Credits help distressed communities get ahead and stay ahead, and I will continue to fight for them.”
“Erected during the depths of the Great Depression, the historic People’s Bank is a monument to when Americans built big things. Projects like its restoration are precisely what Congress had in mind when it wrote the New Market Tax Credits to revitalize low-income communities,” said. Rep. Pascrell. “I would like to thank my friend Senator Menendez for his work in helping secure these funds and for highlighting this rebirth. House Republicans recently sought the elimination of these tax credits as part of their tax scam. Thankfully, they failed. The tax credits will create new jobs for local residents and christen anew this proud beacon of Passaic County.”
The 12-story building at 663 Main Ave. was built in 1931 and was the original home of the People’s Bank and Trust Company. The art-deco-style tower closed in the mid 1990’s after the bank closed and city’s economic downturn, and stood vacant for years until the Newark-based Hanini Group got involved in its redevelopment. When construction is complete, the multi-purpose building will house a new restaurant, Sushi Mama, on the first floor; a three-story gym, Blink Fitness; and the Passaic Board of Education offices on the upper floors. By relocating out of its current home at Passaic High School, it allows the Board to expand classroom space at the school.
The People’s Bank Building developers relied on two federal programs to leverage the private capital necessary to make the project possible: the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC) and the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.
The NMTC Program has successfully attracted private investment and economic activity in low-income communities throughout New Jersey, building public-private development partnerships by helping to leverage greater private-sector investments than would otherwise be possible. Investments through the NMTC program, established by Congress in December 2000, have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and supported the construction of 178 million square feet of manufacturing, office, and retail space. As the communities benefitting from these investments develop, they become more attractive to investors, creating a ripple effect that spurs more investment.
Just last month, Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker announced that the Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Inc. and the Reinvestment Fund, Inc. have been awarded a total of $110 million in NMTCs. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, for every dollar invested by the federal government, the NMTC program generates over $8 of private investment. In 2016 alone, CDFIs made over 39,000 loans and investments across the country, totaling more than $3.6 billion, financing over 11,000 small businesses and over 33,000 affordable housing units.
The Historic Preservation Tax Credit is an income tax credit through the National Park Service designed to incentivize the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. It creates jobs and is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective community revitalization programs. The program has leveraged over $84 billion in private investment to preserve 42,293 historic properties across the U.S. since 1976.
While NPS originally denied the Hanini Group’s application for Historic Preservation Tax Credits, the decision was reversed after Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker, and Rep. Pascrell wrote letters to NPS supporting the developer’s efforts to renovate the historic Passaic tower.
“The NMTC program is a critical component of NJCC’s mission to create thriving neighborhoods. NMTCs help us attract private investments into projects that yield high quality jobs and have meaningful impacts for low-income communities,” said Wayne T. Meyer, president of New Jersey Community Capital, which runs the Community Loan Fund of New Jersey. “These transformational developments, and the jobs, services, and opportunities they provide, would not be possible without NMTCs. We are grateful to have such a dedicated partner in Senator Menendez working to protect this program.”
“The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is proud to have invested in this historic property and help bring life to a vacant building and jobs to the city. In addition, relocating the Passaic Board of Education out of Passaic High School will enable the school to expand by 320 students,” said Sajan Philip, Director, Central Region and Washington, D.C., for LIIF. “This extra space will help more of New Jersey’s students get the high-quality education they deserve. LIIF was pleased to partner with Hanini Group, New Jersey Community Capital and U.S. Bank on this project.”
As part of his Jersey Jobs Tour, Sen. Menendez is meeting with business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, students, and local leaders in each of the state’s 21 counties to discuss how to drive innovation, create greater economic opportunity, and deliver prosperity to the people of New Jersey.
Sen. Menendez recently sat down with minority small business owners from across New Jersey and leaders from the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ (AACCNJ) and the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ (SHCCNJ) to discuss ways to grow the economy and create jobs.
The senator recently visited Corgi Distillery, the first and only craft distillery in Hudson County to see their operations firsthand and how New Jersey’s burgeoning craft beverage industry could benefit from legislation that he cosponsored that will help spur the local economy and grow jobs.
The senator also toured the construction site of the new Stockton University Atlantic City Campus to see how the future residential campus will serve as a catalyst for growth by increasing educational opportunities and creating a highly-skilled workforce to meet the demands of a new economy.
He also explored new innovative, high-tech workspaces in Kearny and Holmdel, met with local fishermen at the Jersey Shore, visited the world’s largest vertical farm in Newark, and spent time at a job training center in Elizabeth where he announced new legislation to create a direct jobs pipeline between community colleges and employers looking to hire.