Assembly approves bill to rejuvenate abandoned stores, malls

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A plan to breathe new life into mostly vacant shopping malls and office parks was endorsed today by the Assembly.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer sponsors the bill (A1700) allowing towns to designate decaying commercial sites for redevelopment, qualifying the projects for tax incentives.

“The landscape of our state is littered with abandoned, crum- bling, and once-thriving retail centers and office complexes,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “These buildings place a significant burden on the surrounding communities, driving property taxes up and values down. We need to help towns stimulate redevelopment and repurpose stranded assets in this era of online shopping.”

Shopping centers or office parks that have been at least 50 percent va- cant for more than two years will qualify for designation as redevelop- ment zones.