New Jersey Land Bank Launch Initiative

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A joint initiative between the Center for Community Progress and the Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey.

The New Jersey Land Bank Launch initiative is designed to build knowledge and capacity surrounding land banks, a powerful tool to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties, across the Garden State. Throughout this initiative, Community Progress and the Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDNNJ) are working alongside partners and directly with community leaders interested in exploring land banks as tool to advance local equitable revitalization goals in New Jersey.

Virtually all communities have some inventory of VAD properties, which pose significant health and safety risks for residents and neighborhoods and disproportionately harm Black and Brown communities. Some communities also have large inventories of publicly owned underutilized properties. New Jersey municipalities align with these national trends. In communities across the country, land banks have proven to be a powerful tool to address VAD properties and advance equitable revitalization outcomes consistent with community goals.

In July 2019, Senate Bill No. 1214, the “New Jersey Land Bank Law,” was signed into law. The New Jersey Land Bank Law permits New Jersey municipalities to form land banks by entering into an agreement with a nonprofit or public redevelopment entity to serve as the municipality’s land bank. However, the pandemic stalled efforts to capitalize on this new community development tool. Now with renewed energy for addressing persistent housing challenges statewide, the time is right for New Jersey communities to explore the potential for land banks to address persistent VAD property challenges and advance equitable community development.

Community Progress’ and HCDNNJ announced the scholarship program was open to applications in early October 2023. In early 2024, three applicants were competitively selected to receive no-cost technical assistance to explore the utility and value of creating a local land bank to support equitable neighborhood revitalization in these municipalities: Atlantic City, Salem, and Plainfield. .

The engagements are focused on assessing the feasibility of a land bank as an effective tool and providing observations on key complementary systems that touch problem properties (such as delinquent property tax foreclosure and code enforcement systems). The engagements will be completed in October 2024 so please check back later for more information.

Additional Resources

This opportunity is made possible through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). RWJF is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, RWJF works to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have.

Land Banking in New Jersey

Land banks are flexible, nimble public entities endowed with special powers by state legislation that can acquire, hold, and then steward large inventories of vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive reuses that support equitable community development and improve neighborhood resiliency consistent with local priorities and needs. Land banks have proven critical community development tools in a range of geographies and under varying conditions, whether to help with recovery efforts in the wake of economic or national disasters or to support equitable development in neighborhoods that struggle under the weight of decades of chronic disinvestment and unjust policies.

In New Jersey, land banks act as an agent for the municipality or municipalities that created the land bank to address VAD properties. Key provisions in the New Jersey Land Bank Law include:

  • A municipality can enter into a land banking agreement with an existing public entity (e.g., municipal redevelopment agency or county improvement entity) or private entity (e.g., nonprofit organization) to serve as the land bank for a municipality.
  • The agreement between the land bank and the municipality dictates how the land bank will function. Land bank powers for acquisition, disposition, sales proceeds, and other operational functions are provided to the land bank by the municipality via that agreement.
  • A land bank can serve more than one municipality, allowing for a regional approach in addressing VAD properties.

To date, the City of Newark has the only active land bank in the Garden State. While every community may not need a land bank, these nimble community development entities are a powerful tool to address property vacancy and abandonment.

To learn more about land banking in New Jersey, you can review the following resources:


If you have any questions about the New Jersey Land Bank Launch Scholarship please contact Liz Kozub at [email protected].