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Christie announces razing of state buildings to make way for Trenton development

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Gov. Chris Christie speaks Wednesday about his Trenton development plans.
Gov. Chris Christie speaks Wednesday about his Trenton development plans. - ()

Gov. Chris Christie was in Trenton on Wednesday to announce plans to demolish three state office buildings in the city and relocate those offices to two new, more efficient structures.

Relaying the recommendations put forth in a 2015 feasibility study undertaken by the state Economic Development Authority, Christie called for the relocation of the state departments of Health, Agriculture and Taxation, to be split among a new seven-story, 175,000-square-foot building at the corner of John Fitch Way and South Warren Street and a new five-story, 135,000-square-foot building at North Willow and West Hanover streets.

The project would reduce the state’s total square footage by over 27 percent in the capital city’s downtown corridor and would open the door for more private investment in the area.

“This partnership with the private sector will reinvigorate one of the most heavily trafficked areas of Trenton into a dynamic downtown environment that benefits residents, workers and investors,” said Christie. “This initiative will create more private-sector jobs and a stronger Capital City to attract new residents and visitors. With my administration having rightsized the state-employee workforce, we can now ease the state office building footprint to help expedite Trenton’s revitalization, anchored by the new Thomas Edison School of Nursing and other nearby redevelopment.”

The project, which has received approval from the city and the New Jersey Division of Property Management and Construction, will seek $3.6 million in interim financing from the EDA on Friday, at its next scheduled meeting.

According to the administration, the EDA has approved nearly $70 million in incentives under the Economic Opportunity Act for Trenton-based projects such as Roebling Lofts, the mixed-use development where Christie made his announcement Wednesday.

In addition to support from Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, the project is also being backed by Greater Trenton, the recently founded nonprofit economic development initiative that aims to revitalize the state’s capital city.

“I welcome this investment in Trenton," Jackson said. "Every capital project that is undertaken in Trenton is a strong indicator of our collective work to advance our capital city's economic revival, and it is a monumental effort that begins with our partners in the public and private sectors, such as Gov. Christie, Greater Trenton and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.”

“The state office building project will strengthen the momentum building in the great city of Trenton,” added Greater Trenton CEO George Sowa. “By marketing Trenton’s many assets and utilizing existing economic development tools, today’s announcement will help us to attract new private investment and facilitate the transfer of state-owned development parcels — a critical step in our revitalization strategy.”

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