What real estate gets in Biden’s $1.9 trillion package

Rent and mortgage assistance, restaurant relief, PPP money and more

National /March 08, 2021 02:15 PMBy Sasha JonesPresident Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was passed over the weekend. (Getty / Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was passed over the weekend. (Getty / Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

From rent relief to aid for restaurants, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package has lots of goodies for real estate.

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was passed Saturday by the Senate and is headed back to the House, which is expected to follow suit.Read more

Here are five provisions noteworthy for the real estate industry:

1. Rent and mortgage assistance

The bill includes $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance, $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers and $100 million for rural housing.

It also provides funds for marginalized communities hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, such as $5 billion to help people experiencing homelessness and $750 million for Native American communities.ADVERTISEMENT

Distribution will be handled by state and local governments and will vary.

One measure the bill does not touch is the national eviction moratorium, which was recently extended through March. Its future after that is uncertain.

2. Small businesses and restaurants

Restaurants (and their landlords) are among the big winners in the package, as $28.6 billion would go to eligible eateries in grants of up to $5 million.

Restaurant owners would also be eligible for a $15 billion Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees would be given priority.

The package appropriates $7.25 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, which has already disbursed more than $662 billion in forgivable loans. However, the bill does not extend the current application period, which is scheduled to close March 31.ADVERTISEMENT

Most restaurateurs were relieved that a federal minimum-wage increase was dropped from the bill. Some states, including New York, already have a much higher minimum, but in those that do not, tipped staff can still be paid a base wage as low as $2.13 an hour.

3. State and local relief

State and local governments are facing pandemic-induced budget shortfalls in the coming months and years, raising concerns among real estate interests that taxes would be jacked up to close the gap.

But the Biden bill designates $350 billion to states, cities, tribal governments and U.S. territories to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill also adds a $10 billion infrastructure program to help local governments with capital projects.

The money takes pressure off lawmakers to raise property, income and transfer taxes, which affect migration patterns and to some extent business location decisions, and thus real estate values and rents.ADVERTISEMENT

4. Homelessness

In addition to the $5 billion for people experiencing homelessness, the bill provides $510 million for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which supports homeless services providers. That money may be used for overnight shelter, meals, one month’s rent and mortgage assistance and one month’s utility payments.

5. Stimulus checks

The $1,400 payments that Americans have been patiently awaiting for months could arrive as soon as next week. Individuals making under $75,000 and couples filing jointly making under $150,000 would receive $1,400 per person. The bill also provides $1,400 per dependent.

Smaller checks will go out to individuals making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000, but the benefit phases out and reaches zero at $80,000 and $160,000, respectively.

Meant to boost the economy, the checks make up roughly $400 billion of the package. The previous two stimulus checks have been correlated with increased retail spending, benefiting retailers and, indirectly, their landlords.

one we missed

Kushner’s controversial One Journal Square project receives approval to bring 1,700 units to Jersey City



All renderings by Woods Bagot

After sitting vacant for over a decade, a large site in Jersey City’s Journal Square will soon be home to two 710-foot towers with over 1,700 units of housing. The Jersey City Planning Board on Tuesday approved Kushner Companies’ controversial One Journal Square project, signaling the beginning of the end of this development saga. The approval came after the city and the developer reached a settlement agreement last October over a lawsuit filed in 2018 against the city by Kushner Companies, run by the family of White House advisor Jared Kushner, that claimed officials stalled the project over “anti-Trump” sentiment.

One Journal Square, Jersey City, Kushner Companies, Woods Bagot

Designed by Woods Bagot Architects, the skyscraper complex measures about two million square feet and consists of two 52-story towers rising from one 10-story podium. In total, there are 1,723 units of housing, 883 parking spaces, and space for retail and commercial use. Older plans had called for two 849 foot tall, 56-story towers with 1,512 residential units and a 56- and a 79-story tower with a total of 1,725 units.

Amenities at One Journal Square include a full-sized basketball court, pool, roof terrace, dog run, dining areas, and a landscaped public plaza surrounding the building.

“Kushner is excited to reach this milestone needed to get this pivotal project off the ground and make 1 Journal Square a reality,” Jenny Bernell, executive vice president of development for Kushner, told NJ.com in a statement. “We look forward to continuing a great collaboration with Jersey City.”

One Journal Square, Jersey City, Kushner Companies, Woods Bagot
One Journal Square, Jersey City, Kushner Companies, Woods Bagot

The site, which is next to the Journal Square PATH train station, has been vacant since 2009. Kushner Companies and KABR bought the property in 2015 and their plans to build two 56-story towers were approved in 2017, along with $93 million in tax breaks from the state, which included $59 million tied to bringing co-working company WeWork to the site.

There were issues getting the project started, especially after WeWork backed out as the anchor tenant of One Journal Square. Nicole Kushner Meyer also attempted to raise money from Chinese investors by promising EB-5 visas in exchange, name-dropping her brother Jared as a way to lure investment. The company reportedly sought 300 wealthy investors from China to provide about $150 million for One Journal.