Archive for the ‘Real Estate Development’ Category

The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness has misled the public

The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and its funder, the Educational Testing Service have produced a report, “Housing the Vulnerable in Mercer County” that defies the laws of economics, makes unfounded assertions and argues for the abandonment of Trenton. However, it does not address homelessness.

Link to the report

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A quick post on the meltdown

I’d like to call ReinventTrenton readers attention to an excellent Harvard University Panel discussion on the causes of our financial crisis.  These are some of the best economic minds in the country including a Nobel laureate and the Dean of the Havard Business School.

Harvard Panel on the Financial Meltdown 9-25-2008

Basically, there are two drivers to the current problem, one of which affects Trenton and the other one, not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

The case for dumping city owned property

The city is by far the largest single holder of vacant and underutilized real estate in Trenton. This is a long standing situation and is not in the best interests of Trentonians.

It is inevitable to hear Trenton politicians and citizens alike exclaim that, while the city should sell its vacant holdings, “we shouldn’t give them away”.

Oh really? And just how have the fine folks at city hall, and many of our leading activists come to this conclusion?

Read the rest of this entry »

Eminent Domain needs citizen approval

ReinventTrenton.com and the Trenton Downtowner are sponsoring a quick poll to gauge public opinion on eminent domain. This is the first chance Trentonians have had to make their voice heard on this subject.

Vote on Eminent Domain

You can vote at: trentonspace.com

I’ve said many times that the use of eminent domain is a matter of principle. While I consider forcing a property owner to sell a producing property to be unprincipled, I may very well be in the minority.

The Supreme Court has found state law governing eminent domain to be constitutional but in no way does that make it right. For instance, abortion is constitutional, but many people think it’s wrong. Drilling for offshore oil could become legal but plenty of people take a principled view that its wrong as well. On both the left and right we can have principled opinions that differ with the law. This is why we vote and enact laws, otherwise the judiciary makes rules for us.

Citizens need to vote on eminent domain either directly or through their representatives. Some towns may chose to allow their government to force sales of property to developers while others may decide to more tightly restrict government power. Trenton’s citizens must make a conscious decision on the relationship between property rights and government power.

Our city council could enact an ordinance banning or limiting the practice. Or they could choose not to. Either way the people should be heard and council should actively reflect the opinion of Trentonians, not the Supreme Court or developers.

The Train Station Redevelopment Plan

If you’re a Trenton watcher and haven’t been living in a cave, then you’ve noticed our shiny new $60M train station. The Trenton train station is unique along the Northeast corridor in that not only is it the 6th busiest station but it has both Amtrak, NJ Transit, NJ Light Rail and Septa carriage.

Every day hundreds of people from mainly outside Trenton travel through our station. They typically spend as little time in Trenton as possible.

The city is proposing to change that.

It is leveraging a generous state tax incentive to encourage commercial development around urban NJ’s train stations. I have to say, I’m for the tax incentive. The state and federal government have spent $Billions over the year building roads to increase sprawl, it’s good to finally put some balance in the equation.

With the incentive behind it, the city has courted three developers to build three seperate large projects immediately adjacent to the station. I think this is great and can’t see any downside. I even support demolishing the historic-ish building on the north side of Greenwood Ave. to make way for the building.

However,there are two big questions that come to mind as I review the current version of the city’s development plan for the area and come away from tonight’s (6/25) public meeting on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Real re-development

When you get right down to it, the only thing that really counts as re-development is money being spent to improve a property for an economic purpose.

That’s it.

Building a new museum, cleaning the streets and writing a new master plan simply don’t count. They don’t produce direct economic benefit. Often times they DO lead to new economic development because a developer prefers to invest on clean streets next to spiffy new art museums.

With this in mind I found it interesting to compare and contrast two “re-development” articles in today’s Trenton Times (June 18, 2008).

The first article, in the business section, announces that a new supermarket, Food Bazaar, is coming to Ron Berman’s Roebling Market. This is big news!. Whether or not Trenton is actually underserved by grocery stores would take some analysis to figure out, but there is no doubt that adding a large store like Food Bazaar will add variety and competition to the market. We can only assume that Food Bazaar’s management is sophisticated enough to have evaluated both the opportunity and competition in Trenton and the surrounding area. Read the rest of this entry »