Over the past 33 years, Kearny has been implementing one of New Jersey’s most successful Urban Enterprise Zone programs. Of the 566 municipalities in NJ, Kearny is one of only 37 that are designated as an Urban Enterprise Zone. The Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) Program was enacted January 16, 1986, with a 20-year duration. In November 2007, the KUEZ was approved for a 16-year program extension. Retail sales immediately jumped in Kearny when the reduced sales tax collection incentive was approved for Kearny’s local UEZ program prior to the 1992 Holiday shopping season.
Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) is unique because it encompasses both a retail/commercial sector as well as a distinct industrial sector. The KUEZ covers 20% of the town’s 9.3 sq. miles (1,193 acres) including some 97% of its major business districts.
The benefits of the UEZ are evident in the sales and use tax exemptions. The sales tax purchase exemption applies to business equipment and supplies (other than motor vehicles, parts, supplies and meals, rooms, admissions or petroleum products gross receipts), services performed for an approved zone business (except any telecommunications service charge taxes), furnishings, trade fixtures, unconventional vehicles, repair or construction materials and all other tangible personal property purchases imposed under the Sales and Use Tax Act and controlled by the qualified business. Purchases must be for exclusive use or consumption on the premises of the qualified business at its Zone location. The payoff is a direct cost savings to a company’s bottom line.
In 1997, as Hudson County prepared for major economic expansion and an influx of domestic and global businesses, Kearny witnessed the opening of numerous acres of land in their UEZ for commercial development. Kearny expects that this UEZ-induced development, coupled with its strategic location within the State, will continue to offer business-to-business product suppliers a primary hub for relocation of sales, technology, and industrial operations.
Through the adoption of two major Redevelopment Plans, the Town has positioned itself to stimulate even greater economic activity in the future, which equates to a lesser burden overall for its property taxpayers. Kearny will further become a hotbed of business growth within West Hudson, as Newark and Harrison continue with their redevelopment initiatives.
Kearny includes 407 acres in South Kearny, as a U.S. Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #49). This will result in a significant impact on the existing land uses in this area. FTZ status will further transform the Kearny peninsula into a magnet for new business and enterprises that would financially flourish from this designation.
In 2018, Kearny was designated an Opportunity Zone. This designation will offer investors incentives for putting their capital to work in the Opportunity Zone. These incentives are a temporary tax deferral for capital gains invested in an Opportunity Fund, a step-up basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund and a permanent exclusion from taxable income of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in a qualified Opportunity Zone Fund, if the investment is held for at least 10 years.
Catalyst for Economic Growth
The Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone Program, under the guidance of its Enterprise Zone Development Corporation, is the catalyst for Kearny’s Economic Development initiatives. Its projects balance the needs of two distinct geographic areas: the Industrial in the South and the Retail/Commercial in the North. The specific concerns of both areas bring challenges that result in a wide array of projects that benefit every business segment.
From ongoing road and infrastructure improvements in the South to “Main Street” initiatives, business promotions, public safety, and clean street projects in the North, KUEZ Projects are as diverse as the communities it serves. KUEZ projects address the specific needs and requirements of individual and divergent business districts to add support in their efforts to grow, expand, and become even stronger. Whether a retail, service, commercial, manufacturing, or logistics-oriented company, the Kearny UEZ tailors projects around the cultivation of business success.
Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone Office
The Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) office also furnishes technical assistance in a number of ways. The KUEZ is in the position to direct any entrepreneur considering expansion, relocation or start-up conveniently to the most dependable resources in the State or the County. Kearny assists businesses in obtaining economic development financing, loan guarantees, work force training, management training, site selection, regulatory compliance/permitting, export/import counseling, business planning, and other work related services.
In addition to the availability of its own Business Development Revolving Loan Program, co-op advertising support, backing of town events in its business districts, the KUEZ remains receptive and responsive to individual business owners, developers and commercial property owners, large or small.
The Governing Body promotes and encourages economic growth and investment because it readily acknowledges that any company that decidedly succeeds will yield real benefits for the entire town. It is universally recognized that as Kearny’s business climate progressively advances, its relationships with its commercial and industrial sectors strengthen, and everyone wins, including the property taxpayer.