Downtown New Jersey is the organization of individuals, businesses, government agencies, and local and regional organizations 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 community.

Downtown New Jersey is a resource dedicated to ensuring the vitality of our downtowns. Count on us as your resource for anything regarding downtowns in New Jersey.


Downtown New Jersey acts as an advocate for downtown commercial districts in New Jersey to:

  • Provide information and educational opportunities for professional downtown and commercial district revitalization organizations;
  • Recognize the best efforts of these organizations;
  • Track judicial and legislative issues that can affect the success of New Jersey’s downtown commercial districts;
  • Provide opportunities to foster communication among the business, government and professional communities concerned with the well-being of downtown and commercial districts;
  • Inform and educate membership on legislative issues involving downtowns and commercial business districts.

President's Message

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I am honored and excited to lead Downtown New Jersey as President of the only statewide organization that is dedicated exclusively to New Jersey’s great downtowns. With over 100 members, we are a strong and vital organization focused on being your advocate and resource.

I want to start by thanking Past-President Bob Zuckerman for his dedicated service as President over the last four years. His leadership and commitment to advancing the goals of DNJ have been exceptional. I am especially grateful that Bob will continue to serve as a vice president.
Looking ahead, I would like the organization to focus on what’s next. By that, I mean focusing on what it will take for New Jersey’s downtowns to be successful. One area I am particularly ‘excited to focus on’ is our strategic plan for the next five years. Our strategic priorities will center on how we can better support New Jersey’s downtown areas with offerings and strengthen our organization to continue to do so.
When I joined DNJ in 2018, I was managing Small Business Services in Jersey City, where I gained first-hand knowledge of the concerns and troubles of downtown from business owners, special improvement districts (SIDs), business improvement districts (BIDs), and neighboring communities. I worked with City departments of Housing, Economic Development, & Commerce Department, including planning, zoning, and construction, and the Health Department advocating and troubleshooting to open new businesses. Working at the economic development organizations for the two largest NJ cities, I also understand the financial concerns of downtowns before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am thrilled to lead DNJ, working alongside accomplished Board members and all downtown professionals.

Best wishes,

Vanessa N. Quijano | President

Board of Directors


Vanessa N. Quijano

NJ Community Capital

Natalie pineiro

Vice President 
Ink Creative Strategies

Thomas Strowe

Vice President
Scotch Plains Township


Robert Zuckerman

Vice President
Red Bank RiverCenter

Meg Brill

Downtown West Orange Alliance

Board Members

Phil Abramson


Nancy Adams

Summit Downtown Inc.

Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt

Suasion Communications Group

GabRIEL Bailer

Harbor Consultants Inc.

Zoe Baldwin

Regional Plan Association

Chris Bernardo

Commercial District Services, LLC

Jef Buehler

NJ Business Action Center

Michael Cerra

New Jersey State League of Municipalities

Noelia colon

Perth Amboy BID

Orlando Cruz

Downtown Paterson SID

Roxanne Earley

Hoboken Business Alliance

Abbie Galie

Destination Medford, Visit Burlco

Robert Goldsmith Esq.

Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis

Steve Grillo

Explore Millburn-Short Hills

Melissa Hodge

South Orange Downtown

Deborah Hoffman

Passaic County, Division of Economic Development

Michael Kahn

Stuart Koperweis

Economic Development Strategists, LLC

Jay Kruse

ESE Consultants, Inc.

Beth Lippman

Livingston Community Partnership Management Corp

Emily Manz

Invest Newark

Robert Peluso

Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce

Maggie Peters

New Jersey Economic Development Authority

Natalie Pineiro

Downtown Somerville Alliance

Michelle Richardson

Hudson County EDC 




Tantum Realty

Marta Villa



Executive Director

Junior Planner