When the New Jersey State League of Municipalities needed to relocate from its long-time home at 407 West State Street in Trenton into a larger space, the League had its eye on one of the last remaining grand homes on West State Street: the Roebling Mansion. The only problem was that the building was crumbling after many years of abandonment.
The League worked with the EDA, Wachovia Bank, and the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund to restore the exterior and first floor of the building, renovate the second and third floors, and add approximately 11,000 square feet of office space to the rear of the building. The $6-million project included $1.4 million in low-interest EDA loans and a $40,000 predevelopment loan from the EDA to finance a feasibility study for the project.
“What impressed me the most about working with the EDA was the timeliness in getting the application approved and check deposited in our construction account so we could keep to a very tight construction time table and minimize cost overruns,” said Bill Dressel, executive director of the League.
The mansion was once home to Ferdinand Roebling, son of John A. Roebling, the manufacturer/inventor of wire rope and the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. The home was purchased by Ferdinand in 1870, and it housed three generations of Roeblings. As the only remaining Roebling mansion in Trenton, it is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.
“The greatest advantage of working with the EDA is the positive attitude we received from the loan officers in understanding the importance of our project and what it means in terms of improving a blighted urban area and restoring an historic building,” added Dressel.
The project’s success earned it the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Award in 2007 and the NJBIA New Good Neighbor Award in 2008.