Invest Newark launches region’s first land bank

NEWARK, NJ — Invest Newark has launched the Newark Land Bank, an initiative championed by Mayor Ras Baraka to improve the quality of life for Newark residents. The land bank will lead the way to begin the post-COVID economic recovery of Newark by boosting homeownership and creating affordable and market rate housing. By increasing developer or subcontractor capacity for minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprises, the program is creating inclusive investment opportunities for local entrepreneurs as an economic recovery pathway.

“Today, we are making history as the city of Newark launches the state of New Jersey’s first land bank! Our city’s new land bank initiative will help achieve one of the greatest of all American dreams for our residents — homeownership, in the form of affordable and market-rate housing. The city as a whole, will gain from the jobs created by construction and development on these sites, the tax ratables generated, and the conversion of empty lots, abandoned buildings, and blighted areas into empowered neighborhoods and communities,” Baraka said. “This has been a huge win for our city and a critical component of my administration’s comprehensive Newark Forward strategy.”

“We’re thrilled to officially launch the Newark Land Bank and provide the community with expanded access and opportunity to own their own land,” Invest Newark President and CEO Bernel Hall said. “This program is a powerful community wealth creation tool that allows Newark residents to invest in their neighborhood while investing in themselves. Equitable access to real estate is a crucial step in establishing an inclusive and equitable community and we are proud to continue bringing such opportunities to our residents.”

“As the lead sponsor of the legislation to permit land banking, I am excited to see the program go from policy to true progress,” state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz said. “It is an honor to work on behalf of our families in the city of Newark and to partner with Mayor Baraka on an endeavor that will be a game-changer for our neighborhoods. From empty lots to first-time home-buying opportunities, there is a wealth of possibilities here which will undoubtedly uplift our communities and help revitalize our city.” 

“The land banking bill became law in large part due to the tremendous, sustained advocacy of Mayor Ras Baraka, who is using this tool to turn Newark’s abandoned, vacant, blighted properties into safe, affordable homes and retail space,” Assemblywoman Mila Jasey said. “This development will create much-needed tax revenue, which will mean more municipal services and an improved quality of life for all Brick City residents. The opportunities of a Newark Reimagined are limitless, and I am honored to have played a role in creating this mechanism for sustainable, long-term change.”

Within three weeks of launching in late January, the Land Bank website has seen more than 900 registered users and more than 80,000 Application Program Interface hits. Visit the website at https://landbank.investnewark.org/. Additional information can be found on the website’s FAQ page or by emailing NLBinfo@investnewark.org.

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