Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund Program

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What is MERF? 

The Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund (MERF) provides loans to businesses or governments investing in projects that retain or create a significant number of private-sector jobs in economically distressed areas that are within the geographic area known as the NEW YORK portion of the service area of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. These areas include New York City and parts of Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties. 

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Program Highlights

  • Loans up to a maximum of $5 million or 10% of total project cost, whichever is less, for improving land and/or buildings, construction and renovation, and for machinery and equipment purchases.
  • Interest rates are based on market conditions, the applicant's ability to repay and project requirements.
  • Project loan terms will not exceed 20 years for real estate and seven years or the useful life of collateral for machinery and equipment.
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Eligible applicants include for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and village, town and county governments located in the program service area.

  • Projects must demonstrate substantial potential to stimulate private job creation retention, sustainable development and business and economic development in the community
  • Minimum 10% of borrower equity
  • Eligible businesses must attract substantial leveraging of Empire State Development (ESD) funds with private lender and investor capital
  • Retail and office development assistance is also available

Not eligible:

  • Residential construction renovation
  • Debt refinancing (except to replace interim construction loans with MERF funds being used for permanent financing)
  • Businesses providing legal, medical or nursing services
  • Newspaper, broadcasting and news media businesses (except production facilities for sound, recording studios and printing plants)


Click here to view the MERF Eligible Distressed Communities Map. 

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How to Apply

Contact Information

Please contact Rafael Salaberrios, Vice President of Economic Revitalization at (212) 803-3219 to start the application process.

Application Process

  • Complete a MERF worksheet that will be reviewed to ensure the project is eligible and satisfies preliminary benefit-cost analysis.  Worksheets may be submitted at any time on an ongoing basis.
  • Applicants with projects that meet initial screening criteria must submit a full application that will be reviewed by ESD staff and submitted to the directors for approval.

On acceptance of commitment, the borrower pays a $250 non-refundable application fee and a two percent commitment fee.  One percent is rebated at closing of permanent loan if ESD is also participating in the construction loan or project.