Large-scale redevelopment in Trenton’s industrial areas should be encouraged to help create a more sustainable diverse economy in the City with new employment opportunities. The City must make land available specifically for industrial development and its unique infrastructure requirements, assist with acquiring the land, and facilitate the land development process. The City must also acquire and assemble lots to create parcels larger than 60,000 SF, and ensure those parcels have adequate parking and good highway access.
To carry this out, the City must encourage the redevelopment of key parcels in the vicinity of Route 1 and New York Avenue targeted for industrial development. Many redevelopment opportunities exist in this vicinity. This area would be ideal to accommodate more traditional light industrial users, such recyclers and warehouse companies, as well as med/tech companies, small manufacturers, and startups.
The City may have the opportunity to acquire and assemble properties within existing or future redevelopment areas. However, it is clear such efforts should proceed cautiously. As a result of decades of such activity that gutted the city’s downtown and fundamentally changed the fabric of the city, residents understandably view acquisition and assemblage efforts with skepticism. As such, any such efforts should be undertaken with caution. Acquisition and assemblage, when possible, should be advanced through cooperation with redevelopment companies that have proven their abilities to revitalize locations in other cities. Unfortunately, the city currently lacks funding for such efforts.
Overcoming this barrier will be a significant step in advancing a comprehensive industrial development strategy. However, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are available and can be used for this purpose. Also, stakeholders report that area foundations have an interest in funding property acquisition and assemblage for redevelopment purposes. The City should reach out to these resources.