From left: Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson and Villanova University team members Katelyn Tufariello, Austin Neri, Kiera McCloy, Tyler Bausinger and Joseph Vilotti, along with NAIOP New Jersey President Dave Gibbons and Greater Trenton CEO George Sowa. — Courtesy: NAIOP New Jersey
By Joshua Burd
A team from Villanova University took the top honors and a $5,000 prize in a recent competition held by NAIOP New Jersey, where students from area schools offered their vision for redeveloping a historic manufacturing site in Trenton.
The 2017 CRE Intercollegiate Case Study Competition, held April 5, brought together students from Rutgers University, Monmouth University, Lehigh University and Villanova. Each team was tasked with developing a mixed-use project that would help reimagine the former Roebling Co. wire rope factory complex in the state capital, which consists of seven historical buildings and sits alongside an NJ Transit light rail line.
The winning team of Tyler Bausinger, Kiera McCloy, Austin Neri, Katelyn Tufariello and Joseph Vilotti from Villanova presented a concept known as The WireWorks at C.O.I.L., an acronym for community-oriented, inspired living. NAIOP said the design maintained the historical integrity of the site — which produced the steel cables that support the likes of the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge — while repositioning it as a live/work/play destination.
“This property has great historical significance to the City of Trenton and the nation,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said. “This site offers a great opportunity for repurposing and revitalization, and I’m really excited to see how these students’ innovative design ideas will inspire us as our city advances toward a new economic future.”
In addition to walkable retail, restaurants, office and multifamily space, the Villanova proposal included a brewery, coffee roastery, movie theater and artist colony as well as a daycare center, museum and collaborative office space, NAIOP said in a news release. A rooftop garden urban farming initiative was one example of the ways in which the project was sustainable from both an environmental and financial standpoint.VILLANOVA - WireWorks Presentation TTJB 02
The complex was established as the site of John Roebling’s wire rope manufacturing company in 1848. Competition site sponsor, Greater Trenton, in coordination with the state Schools Development Authority, provided the students with access to the site for study purposes.
Serving as judges for the competition were Assemblywoman Elizabeth Muoio (D-Mercer), Trenton Director of Housing & Economic Development Diana Rogers, Andrew Merin of Cushman & Wakefield, George Sowa of Greater Trenton and Peter Kasabach of New Jersey Future. Submissions were evaluated on four criteria: financial feasibility, design excellence, client goals and sustainability.
“We are committed to educating students about the real-world process of meeting the needs of our communities, and engaging industrial professionals and municipal leaders to promote an exchange of fresh ideas and focused perspectives,” said Dave Gibbons, NAIOP’s New Jersey chapter president. “We congratulate all of the student teams for doing an outstanding job of understanding Trenton’s rich history and the potential opportunities it offers for businesses and residents.”
Each presentation, along with photos and additional information about the competition, can be viewed at www.naiopnj.org/CREICS-Competition.