On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 10 a.m. at 219 East Hanover Street, a kickoff celebration will highlight an effort by a trio of local developers partnering with Isles, Inc., Trenton Downtown Association, and the City of Trenton, to renovate the former Studios @ 219 and create a new gallery, artist studio space, and coworking space for creative entrepreneurs. Building on Trenton’s Creek to Canal Creative District’s vision, the project: Hanover Creative, aims to embrace arts based communities and economic development as catalysts of positive change and restored vitality.
“Trenton’s culture depends on the arts. Projects like these allow our youth to develop their love for the humanities, and we could not be more excited about the new facility,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I hope that everyone can appreciate how much work goes into initiatives like these. They make a massive impact on the community abroad.”
In order to serve this niche, the renovation will include an upgraded retail/gallery space, new bathrooms on each floor, new HVAC for the building, kitchenettes on each floor, upgraded electric and plumbing, new roof, new intercom and a podcast studio. Total project cost is projected at $640,000.
Through this project, Elijah Dixon and Christien Nicole Brown are building on the success of their first project, the Orchid House, which Elijah Dixon started to renovate in 2015. Orchid House is a mixed use property that features residences upstairs and a rustic venue that is being retrofitted into a Cafe. For the Hanover Creative project, a block away from Orchid House, Dixon and Brown partnered with local developer Trenton Makes, Inc., led by Roland Pott. Trenton Makes Inc. has owned and operated a commercial building at 439 South Broad Street that features studios and creative office space, as well as restaurant and retail space. Dixon, Brown and Pott are all Trenton residents and all live within walking distance of the property.
“Hanover Creative will afford artists, entrepreneurs and small businesses an opportunity to sustain and scale their operations in a cultured environment. It is our goal to have the space serve our community as a resource for networking, creation, education and the fostering of new perspectives,” said Christien Nicole.
Funding for the project comes from Hanover Creative partners’ investment and equity; a grant from New Jersey Manufacturers through the New Jersey Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs via Isles Inc.; a CDBG loan from the City of Trenton’s Business Development Loan Program; a Trenton Building Improvement Incentive grant from the City of Trenton; and construction and permanent financing from Brunswick Bank and Trust.
The developers have also applied for Business Improvement Incentive funding from New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“We’re excited to have Hanover Creative serve as a central hub for the arts community in Trenton, and particularly in the Old Trenton downtown neighborhood. Partnerships like this, between Hanover Creative, Isles, TDA, and others, are essential to showcase the artists and innovators of the Creek to Canal Creative District,” said Michael Nordquist, Managing Director, Community Planning and Development of Isles, Inc.
Helping to fulfill the City of Trenton’s economic development agenda, the owners of the “Hanover Creative” property plan to make two local hires for facilities management and maintenance personnel.
Building on the Trenton Downtown Association and Isles’ goals to grow the Creek to Canal Creative District in which arts and culture can be drivers for equitable, sustainable Downtown revitalization, the Hanover Creative project is expected to be complete by the end of the year and will be available for lease in 2020.
Tom Gilmour, Executive Director of Trenton Downtown Association commented, “Trenton’s amazing organic arts community is redefining the role that art plays in urban economic redevelopment. Hanover Creative is the latest example of the quality and quantity of arts programming that is spurring new interest and attraction to New Jersey’s Capital City.”
The general contractor for the project is Pete Fields of Fieldco Construction, a Trenton based contractor and Lionel Scriven, a local architect who has worked in Trenton for years developed the plans for the renovation of the building.