Press | May 1, 2007

The Rebirth of a State Capital

Urbanland Green 


Trenton, New Jersey, is about to introduce a new town center filled with high-performance green building features. Conceived as a public private partnership, the mixed-use development project spans a full city block and is located a short walk from Trenton City Hall, the New Jersey State Capitol building, and the New Jersey Transit station that feeds New York’s Penn Station and Newark Airport.


The developer, Full Spectrum of New York, is planning the city’s first high-performance development project that includes up to 170,000 square feet (15,793 square meters) of office space, 65,000 square feet (6,039) of retail, and 285 residential units; construction is slated to start this year. Full Spectrum is an experienced green and urban infill developer with many East Coast projects to its credit.


Making use of its urban infill location, Full Spectrum plans to preserve and renovate several existing buildings on site, including the former New Jersey Bell telephone building. The project’s green features include a geothermal heating and cooling system with radiant floor piping, gas powered fuel cells with absorption chillers, extensive daylighting through 15-foot-high (4.6-m-high) ceilings, lights equipped with daylight sensors, integrated photovoltaic solar panels, raised floors in the office spaces, green roofs and gardens serving as tenant amenities, and high particulate indoor air filtration systems throughout. Combined, the building energy efficiency measures will reduce energy consumption by 50 percent below the New Jersey state energy code, according to the Steven Winter Associates’ energy model.


Trenton is New Jersey’s state capital with a history dating to 1679. Suburban flight and the steady loss of the city’s manufacturing base took its toll on the urban core from the 1960s through the late 1980s. Beginning in the early 1990s, Trenton’s suburbs began to flourish and work began to revitalize downtown Trenton, including open space preservation and the creation of parks and recreational lands. The Trenton Town Center project will be a key piece in a continued urban revitalization plan that takes advantage of the city’s infrastructure and transportation nodes and reinforces New Jersey state government’s “smart growth development” strategies.


“Projects like these serve as an economic catalyst to many longstanding urban areas across the United States that have suffered from a generation of sprawl,” says Dan Winters, managing principal of Evolution Partners. “Trenton Town Center can serve as guidance for both cities and developers nationwide when it comes to successfully implementing high-performance green building features within their projects.”