Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP sponsored the Redevelopment Planning Process Program, a section of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority's (NJRA) Redevelopment Training Institute.

The three-and-a-half-day program, held September 30 through October 3 at the Mansion on Main Street in Voorhees, focused on the legal and preliminary planning issues involved with redevelopment in the state. The program also covered the legal process for designating an area in need of redevelopment and formulating the redevelopment plan to implement the desired action.

Barbara Casey, partner in the Real Estate Department and Co-Chair of the firm's Real Estate Development Group, moderated the program and presented several topics, including conflict of interest and practical issues fueling and hindering redevelopment.

Other Ballard attorneys who participated as instructors were Jeffrey S. Beenstock, partner in the Real Estate Department, who spoke on eminent domain; Lauren A. Beetle, associate in the Real Estate Department, who provided information on financial incentives available for redevelopment projects; Tracy A. Siebold, associate in the Real Estate Department, who provided updates and insight on affordable housing approvals and litigation as a result of the newest Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations; and Amy M. Trojecki, associate in the Litigation Department and Environmental Group, who instructed the course on environmental due diligence and its relation to redevelopment and redevelopment projects.

Government officials and real estate practitioners were also among the panelists. The final day of the program included a group discussion among representatives from municipalities where redevelopment has been successful, including the City of Camden, the Borough of Collingswood, the City of Millville, and the City of Bridgeton. The group brought to light the legal concepts and techniques learned over the first three days and provided real-life examples of what worked, what didn't work, and what could have been done better. Participants included representatives from local governmental bodies, municipal redevelopment authorities and boards, developers, community-based/faith-based organizations, consultants, and representatives of state government agencies.

"Ballard Spahr was proud to work with and be recognized as a leader in the redevelopment initiative by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority," Ms. Casey said. "The program enhanced the mission of the NJRA and the Redevelopment Training Institute by providing a unique approach to the revitalization efforts in New Jersey's cities and the work to improve the quality of life by creating value in urban communities."  

The NJRA is an independent entity of the State of New Jersey created in 1996 to identify and finance economic development initiatives in the state's urban communities. The group partners with community-based organizations, real estate developers, and businesses to initiate redevelopment projects that increase economic opportunities in eligible communities. The NJRA offers various forms of financial assistance, including loans, guarantees, and equity investments, as well as consultation services, technical assistance, and planning services. 

The Redevelopment Training Institute, an effort created under the direction of Leslie A. Anderson, NJRA executive director, and managed by Kim Avant-Babb, director of strategic partnerships, and Craig Sawyer, a consultant who works closely with NJRA and the Redevelopment Training Institute, was designed to offer intensive, intermediate-level training courses that focus on the redevelopment of New Jersey's communities and to offer education about its redevelopment process and project financing.