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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cautious optimism in downtown Trenton

Management personnel working at Trenton's Broad Street Bank Building believe that the historic downtown edifice is approaching 40 to 50 percent occupancy, and could be as full as 90 percent by late October or early November.

As a resident of the building who remembers the eerie silence of the hallways in this fairly large structure, such calculations are certainly surprising and help to overwhelm the concern about the future of the building at those times a few months ago, when it felt so empty.

But nowadays there is a fairly constant presence of tenants in the apartments, hallways, and the twin lobbies of the building, along with building staff and the owners of the building, who are seen frequently as they check on and take care of their $30 million investment.

Perhaps the building finally represents a redevelopment success for Trenton.

On the surface it looks like one difference about this project was that it was driven more by an outside development company than by city officials, who have managed to bungle six, seven, or more redevelopment projects that have seen more significant city involvement and promotion.

Other urban areas can look to the work done by Bayville Holdings on the building, plus the relatively careful attention being paid to getting the right kind of tenants into such an important redevelopment project.

Trentonians and others in the city should take notice that some sort of construction work is going on at the Commonwealth Building directly across East State Street from the Broad Street Bank Building.

That structure, while dilapidated, looks like it has bones equally as good as its brother across the street, and should provide even more fantastic commercial or residential space in downtown Trenton, once its transformation is complete.

Also beckoning nearby is the Bell Telephone Building.

With that structure it is pretty obvious that the ceiling heights in its eight or nine floors must be of significant size, given how the top of the building towers over the eight floors of the main portion of the Broad Street Bank Building.

These three structures could provide a significant basis to redevelopment this portion of downtown Trenton, and maybe even the nearby Hanover-Academy portion of the city, which boasts such wonderful housing stock yet suffers somewhat from all of the urban problems plaguing much of the rest of the city.

Bring on the urban planners and the investors.


Old Mill Hill said...

You had better watch your comments about failed development projects in Trenton. A city official might take offense and threaten to sue you.

westwrdguy57 said...

Oldmill, that's not likley anytime soon. Government entities cannot sue its citizens, even for slander or libel. There are already legal precedents in favor of citizens concerning that legal topic.