A long-awaited grand opening celebration at the Broad Street Bank building today hopefully signals the start of renewed efforts by the officials from the City of Trenton in ensuring the historic building and architectural landmark will enjoy some measure of success in attracting tenants to live in downtown Trenton.
George Fakiris of Bayville Holdings LLC – the company that pumped $34 million into renovating the building – was right on with some of his comments in today’s Trentonian about the city’s efforts on both Bayville’s building itself and the city government’s overall efforts in the downtown area.
“I’m not putting anyone down, but we expected more from the City of Trenton,” he told the Trentonian Tuesday. “We thought they would take care of the abandoned buildings near our property. Who wants to look out of their window and look at buildings that not being developed?”
These are the words of a frustrated man from a company that saw the prospects of getting a good return on an important investment for both Bayville and the City of Trenton itself dwindle because of the dragging of feet by city officials, in helping the company secure both a Certificate of Occupancy and parking for future tenants of the building.
Numerous tenants – like me – originally signed up for apartments in the building but delays stemming from paperwork problems caused many prospective Broad Street Bank building residents to find housing elsewhere, and now only eight apartments out of 124 are filled.
These complaints are similar to those coming from other developers who try and work with the city, like Full Spectrum LLC, which wanted to undertake a massive development in the same area as the Broad Street Bank building.
Judging by the condition of Trenton’s downtown – as a business and living area that all but dies after 5 p.m. and on weekends – it would probably behoove city officials to go out of their way for people like Bayville, whose project offers the best hope of returning downtown to its condition decades ago, as a regional shopping and business center.
Trenton needs projects like the Broad Street Bank building to help bring the city back to an acceptable level of economic and social activity. City officials should treat the developers of such projects accordingly. Hopefully assistance from the Trenton Downtown Association and Richardson Commercial, along with renewed effort from the city government, will do the trick.