Old Trenton is a historic community with the potential of attracting a critical mass of residents to downtown Trenton. The City must continue to encourage a strong residential community that can support the local economy by restoring the critical mass in Old Trenton. The Bell Telephone building will contribute to that housing provision with market-rate apartments once complete and can spur additional market-rate residential development in the area. Housing in Old Trenton must also be affordable for lower-income residents, and provide opportunities for live/workspace. This could occur through new infill construction, rehabbing historic homes, and adaptive reuse of structures. As such, housing rehabilitation incentives and rental construction incentives may be effective in this area. Old Trenton will also be the part of the focus of the Strengthen Arts, Culture, and Heritage in Trenton Initiative,
as detailed in the Economic Development Report. Execution of initiatives in this neighborhood will likely require multiple investments from the City and coordination between community groups and multiple City departments. As such, early on the City should establish a City & Neighborhood Partnership Committees for this area to coordinate all investments in the neighborhood, not just housing.
At the same time, the City has identified Expand Downtown Market-Rate Housing
as a key economic development initiative that is closely linked to this one. The key to the initiative is leveraging the powers and incentives that are granted to it through the Redevelopment statutes as well as the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program and Real Estate Impact Loan incentives provided by the State. Since this area is also envisioned as a mixed-use district, the State’s GrowNJ incentive program may also provide opportunities to encourage office development in conjunction with new residential development. Close coordination between those responsible for stimulating economic development through residential construction and those working on housing issues in Old Trenton is strongly recommended.
The City should consider all of the tools identified in the Housing Toolkit to execute this initiative. For more information on the toolkit, see Develop Housing Toolkit & Implement Prioritized Investment Framework Initiative.