Dear [title] [last name],
I am writing to urge you and the NJEDA to stop the plan to demolish the former Health and Agriculture state office buildings.
These buildings are iconic features of the Trenton streetscape:
They are strong examples of modernist architecture. The state’s historic preservation office has deemed them eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations to update and bring distinctive older buildings to current standards is a time-honored approach to enriching and elevating great cities around the world.
It makes good economic sense:
An adaptive re-use of buildings such as these is likely to incorporate PILOT income for Trenton, representing new and desperately needed tax revenue. Re-use for residential or office purposes will enliven these buildings and this portion of Trenton’s downtown.
Sustainable cities benefit from dense development, yet the cost of tall structures and steel construction is often cited by developers as prohibitive. In this instance the steel structures exist and do not need to be built from scratch.
More urgently, Trenton’s remaining homeowners are already bearing a deeply inequitable tax burden for being home to the State Capital. The replacement of two iconic buildings with parking lots would produce yet another act of racial and social injustice for the capital city’s residents.
Stop the wrecking ball!
I strongly urge you to stop the demolition plans and present this opportunity to the real estate development community. Trenton needs redevelopment that will create jobs, provide housing and offices and support economic growth in our capital city.
Instead of demolishing the buildings, let's invite developers to consider them for adaptive re-use. Please use your leadership position to reverse an ill-conceived plan by former Governor Chris Christie that leaves Trenton in a worse - rather than a better - position than it is in now.