ASSEMBLY, No. 1700







Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)


District 37 (Bergen)


Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Murphy






     Specifies vacant shopping malls and office parks as eligible for designation as areas in need of redevelopment.



     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.


An Act concerning the designation of certain areas as in need of redevelopment and amending P.L.1992, c.79. 


     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    Section 5 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-5) is amended to read as follows: 

     5.    A delineated area may be determined to be in need of redevelopment if, after investigation, notice and hearing as provided in section 6 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-6), the governing body of the municipality by resolution concludes that within the delineated area any of the following conditions is found:

     a.     The generality of buildings are substandard, unsafe, unsanitary, dilapidated, or obsolescent, or possess any of such characteristics, or are so lacking in light, air, or space, as to be conducive to unwholesome living or working conditions.

     b.    The discontinuance of the use of buildings previously used for commercial, manufacturing, or industrial purposes; the abandonment of such buildings; or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenantable.

     c.     Land that is owned by the municipality, the county, a local housing authority, redevelopment agency or redevelopment entity, or unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years prior to adoption of the resolution, and that by reason of its location, remoteness, lack of means of access to developed sections or portions of the municipality, or topography, or nature of the soil, is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital.

     d.    Areas with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community.

     e.     A growing lack or total lack of proper utilization of areas caused by the condition of the title, diverse ownership of the real properties therein or other similar conditions which impede land assemblage or discourage the undertaking of improvements, resulting in a stagnant and unproductive condition of land potentially useful and valuable for contributing to and serving the public health, safety and welfare, which condition is presumed to be having a negative social or economic impact or otherwise being detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the surrounding area or the community in general.

     f.     Areas, in excess of five contiguous acres, whereon buildings or improvements have been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished or altered by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake or other casualty in such a way that the aggregate assessed value of the area has been materially depreciated.

     g.    In any municipality in which an enterprise zone has been designated pursuant to the "New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones Act," P.L.1983, c.303 (C.52:27H-60 et seq.) the execution of the actions prescribed in that act for the adoption by the municipality and approval by the New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone Authority of the zone development plan for the area of the enterprise zone shall be considered sufficient for the determination that the area is in need of redevelopment pursuant to sections 5 and 6 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-5 and 40A:12A-6) for the purpose of granting tax exemptions within the enterprise zone district pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1991, c.431 (C.40A:20-1 et seq.) or the adoption of a tax abatement and exemption ordinance pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1991, c.441 (C.40A:21-1 et seq.). The municipality shall not utilize any other redevelopment powers within the urban enterprise zone unless the municipal governing body and planning board have also taken the actions and fulfilled the requirements prescribed in P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-1 et al.) for determining that the area is in need of redevelopment or an area in need of rehabilitation and the municipal governing body has adopted a redevelopment plan ordinance including the area of the enterprise zone.

     h.    The designation of the delineated area is consistent with smart growth planning principles adopted pursuant to law or regulation.

     i.     Areas with buildings used, or previously used, as a shopping mall, shopping plaza, or professional office park, which buildings have been vacant or partially vacant with less than 50% occupancy, for a period of at least one year.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.159, s.1)


     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.





     This bill would amend the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-1 et seq.), to specify that a municipality may determine an area to be in need of redevelopment if the area contains buildings that are used as, or were previously used as, a shopping mall, a shopping plaza, or a professional office park, and the buildings have been vacant, or partially vacant with less than 50% occupancy, for a period of at least one year.  In many cases throughout New Jersey, these once prestigious land use types, now vacant or significantly underutilized, are imposing such a significant strain on their surrounding communities, that it is appropriate and necessary to allow municipalities to use the powers authorized under Article VIII, Section III, paragraph 1 of the State Constitution for the redevelopment of blighted areas.

     The post-World War II development of New Jersey’s suburban landscape was heavily influenced by automobile-dependent types of land uses.  Prominent among these land use prototypes was the development of regional and local shopping malls and suburban office campuses.  For decades, many municipalities, particularly suburban municipalities, relied on the existence of large office campuses and shopping malls to supply jobs and contribute revenue through the payment of property taxes.

     Throughout New Jersey, these once vibrant, envied land use types have fallen into disuse.  Corporations across New Jersey have vacated office parks because they understand that today’s job seekers prefer to work near where they live, or where they can commute by mass transit.  Similarly, recognizing that community shopping centers have been underperforming for decades, retail merchants have vacated space in shopping malls in favor of making a more aggressive presence in vibrant downtown neighborhoods and on the web. 

     Because large corporate office parks and large shopping malls have become obsolete, vacant, and difficult to market, today they are characterized in development circles as “stranded assets.”  In order to encourage private entities to work together with municipal governments to redevelop stranded assets, it may be necessary to resort to more potent development tools than traditional land use planning and zoning.  By specifying that a vacant shopping mall or office park is an area in need of redevelopment, a municipality can offer potential private sector partners redevelopment tools such as tax exemptions and abatements to encourage them to repurpose stranded assets.