Sunday, July 21, 2024

TOD in Your Downtown Forum – May 18th Event

Retail and Redevelopment: Attract and Retain Local Businesses in Your Downtown

Thursday, May 18, 2023 | 9:30am – 12:00pm

Edward J. Bloustein School | James J. Florio Forum
33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

This event, hosted by Downtown New, and NJ TRANSIT’s Transit Friendly Planning (TFP) Program, will bring together a panel of experts from public and private entities to discuss their experiences in attracting and retaining local businesses in downtowns across New Jersey.

Retail businesses are essential to the life and vibrancy of Main Street and TOD alike, but attracting and also retaining these businesses, especially local businesses, can be challenging in uncertain and turbulent economic times. In recent years, many communities have taken creative approaches to adapt to rapidly changing retail trends to ensure retail spaces are filled and stay open. Panelists will share regional best practices on how to attract and retain local businesses, maximize the use of ground-floor commercial space in TOD, better connect transit and local retail through wayfinding, and create unique community events in an effort to revitalize downtowns, as well as provide empirical evidence that local economic development benefits the entire community.

Registration, Networking & Refreshments at 9:30 AM 

Click here to register

Welcome & Introduction:

  • Stephanie DiPetrillo, RU-VTC /
  • Courtenay Mercer, Executive Director, Downtown New Jersey


  • Jim Donio, Town Advocate, Town of Hammonton
  • Melissa Hodge, Executive Director, South Orange Downtown
  • Marta Person Villa, Senior Vice President of Retail Services, CBRE
  • Chris Colley, Principal, Topology


  • Jef Buehler, Municipal & District Revitalization Manager, NJ Business Action Center

AICP CM continuing education credits have been requested for this event.

Published since 2005, the (aka the Transit-Friendly Development Newsletter) is designed to keep municipal officials, planners, and advocates up-to-date on the potential for development and redevelopment around transit stations. This partnership between NJ TRANSIT and the Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University aims to enrich the TOD conversation in New Jersey’s diverse communities by highlighting what is happening in the state and around the country: best practices, model programs, legislation, and local problem-solving experiences.

Downtown New Jersey

Downtown New Jersey (DNJ) is a non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, developers, government agencies, and local and regional entities that are passionate about downtowns. Downtowns reflect our communities’ unique identities, provide a focal point, a convenient local place of commerce, and offer a sense of place where people can gather and truly be a community. DNJ provides advocacy, education, and technical assistance resources dedicated to ensuring the vitality of our downtowns.


The NJ TRANSIT Transit-Friendly Planning Program (TFP) supports transit use by working with communities to provide for an appropriate mix of land uses around NJ TRANSIT terminals, stations, and stops. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the TFP has enabled NJ TRANSIT to participate in transit-supportive development through activities such as public education and on-call technical assistance, along with projects focused on enhancing transit ridership, creating non-farebox revenue, spurring local economic revitalization, and leveraging transit to improve quality of life. NJ TRANSIT is now strategically updating the TFP, refining program initiatives and offerings to best serve the diverse stakeholders engaged in transit-supportive activities throughout New Jersey.