NJ Redevelopment Authority on Mission to Revitalize Urban NJ
Leslie Anderson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, explains the Authority’s mission for development across the state. Anderson breaks down the successful steps Newark and Jersey City have taken to attract people of all economic backgrounds, while still assisting residents who need support.
"We are pleased to welcome Leslie Anderson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. Good to see you Leslie. It's great to be here. Thank you for having me. For people who don't know what the authority is, tell them. The New Jersey Redevelopment Authority is a state financing authority focused on New Jersey's most urbanized communities. We provide direct financial assistance to projects and we also provide technical assistance to municipalities, nonprofits, and developers who are looking to redevelop their communities. So, I was looking at success stories and one of them has struck me, because IHOP is important to a lot of people in Paterson. So, what is the role of the authority in IHOP in Paterson? Why would you get involved? Well, initially, I said no. Well, hold on. Explain who asks? The owner of the IHOP asked and my initial reaction was "no" because it took us out of our normal comfort zone. We usually do real estate development, but this particular IHOP was going into a mall which is in downtown Paterson. Right, I know the area. But we also looked at we're coming out of this economic recession. We have to take a fresh look at who we are and how we serve the community and that's what caused me to say yes. It was the benefit to the community and the impact in the community. By the way, sorry for interrupting. Explain to folks what the larger benefit was to the community. The larger benefit to the community was two things. One, it put an anchor in the mall. The mall was struggling somewhat so it put an anchor right on the corner in the mall which was close to state offices and county offices. Right. And city offices, so that was critical. What is also did was it created jobs. You know, when we look at our cities, we all want to say we started out as Steve Adubato and Leslie Anderson, but we didn't start there. Mm hmm. So, these jobs give you the opportunity to get some work, get some skills. Build up your resume so that you can go for those bigger jobs. So that was the other piece to the IHOP and the greater piece was the support from the IHOP itself. IHOP wanted to help the franchisee go there. Hmm. So that was the other motivating factor for our decision. Leslie, it's important to let people know, where does the money come from for the authority? You are so in my space today. It's a money question because people say, "hey, where does that money come from?" Exactly..."