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Reynolds-Jackson & Verrelli Introduce Bill to Help Spur Trenton Revitalization, Develop More Visitor-Friendly Attraction

Legislation Would Require State Offices Occupying Prime Waterfront Real Estate to Relocate

Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Anthony Verrelli have introduced legislation to help spark revitalization in Trenton by relocating state offices currently occupying prime waterfront real estate in order to pave the way for private investments in more visitor-friendly attractions.

The bill (A-5169) would require any state department or agency with offices located at 300 Riverview Plaza or 400 Riverview Plaza in Trenton to relocate to a more appropriate location suitable to its needs within the Capitol city limits. The measure also allows the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to offer incentives to private entities to locate to those properties.

The relocation of state departments and agencies would allow for economic development in a prime area of real estate in Trenton.  Riverview Plaza is centrally located with access to both the Delaware River and Route 29 and adjacent to Arm & Hammer Stadium.

“Riverview Plaza in Trenton is a beautiful development,” said Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “The area has all the ingredients of an attractive entertainment district, and the potential to be an incredible economic boon for Trenton. Yet, New Jersey has signed a long-term lease for these buildings, and they are now occupied by State agencies.”

The sponsors stressed that the bill takes a pragmatic approach to redeveloping the area and would not simply force state offices out and leave the buildings vacant, but instead require that prospective developers are lined up first.

“When you think about successful urban revitalization efforts around the country, a common ingredient is the development of the waterfront or harbor area into an entertainment district,” said Verrelli (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “We’ve seen it in places like Baltimore, and even in our own backyard, in Camden, Jersey City and Newark. There’s more than enough evidence to suggest this works, and more importantly, that it works quickly.”

The measure would require the EDA to seek to attract private entities to occupy all state vacated office spaces at the Riverview Plaza buildings. The bill would also require the EDA to give priority consideration for eligibility of any authority-administered business assistance program to a private entity seeking to occupy the office space identified in the bill.  The EDA, with the approval of the State Treasurer, is authorized to modify its existing business assistance programs where permissible by law, to give bonuses or other enhanced incentives to private entities that occupy the office space identified in the bill.

The legislation would also require the authority to work cooperatively with other state departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and authorities to explore and implement opportunities to direct resources to a private entity seeking to occupy the office space identified in the bill.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.