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Pascrell Visits Passaic Redevelopment Site to Discuss Return of Local Economic Growth, Job Creation

Passaic, NJ, March 16, 2018
PASSAIC, NJ – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) 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.

“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.”

“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.”

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 the city experienced an economic downturn. It stood vacant for years until the Newark-based Hanini Group took on 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 for expanded 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 Rep. Pascrell wrote a letter to NPS supporting the developer’s efforts to renovate the historic Passaic tower. Sens. Menendez and Booker also issued letters in support of Hanini Group’s application for the credits.

“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.”