Downtown New Jersey 2019 Conference

Downtown New Jersey 2019 Conference

The Value of Downtown:
Capitalizing on Your Assets to Realize Success

This event has already occurred:
2019 Conference Recap & Pictures

  • Date and time: Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Location: Westminster Arts Center, Bloomfield College, 449 Franklin Street, Bloomfield, NJ 07003
  • Sponsorship: 
    • Looking for advertising and exhibiting opportunities at the DNJ Conference, then consider becoming a sponsor. Every sponsorship level comes with at least two (2) registrations, so be sure to check out conference sponsorship opportunities before you register. More information about sponsorship.
  • Registration:
    • Membership has its privileges! Members receive discounted registration and sponsorship. Join today
    • Early Bird Rate – Register by Sept. 20, 2019: $75 (members), $100 (non-members)
    • Register after Sept. 20, 2019: $100 (members), $125 (non-members)
    • Optional food tour tickets offered at a discount rate of $15 to conference attendees (regular rate $30). Space is limited, reserve your ticket today!
  • Directions & Parking:
    • The Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College is easily accessible from NJ Transit, the Garden State Parkway, and Routes 78, 80, & 280.
    • We have limited allocation of spaces in the College lot located on Liberty Street, which will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Parking is also available in the Glenwood Parking Garage with entrances on Washington Street and Glenwood Avenue. The garage is a 5 minute walk to Westminster Arts Center, and the parking fee is $2/hr. (For those planning to stay for the reception, this may be the more desirable parking location – Essex Junctions is in the same building structure as the garage.)
    • Download printer-friendly map & directions.


(Speaker Bios)
  • 9:00 am – Registration and networking/light breakfast
  • 9:45 am – Welcome
    Robert Goldsmith Esq., President, Downtown New Jersey
    Michael J. Venezia, Mayor, Bloomfield Township
  • 10:00 am – Keynote

David D. Dixon, FAIADavid D. Dixon, FAIA
Planning and Urban Design Leader, Stantec’s Urban Places

David Dixon and his team at Stantec’s Urban Places have recently completed working with IDA to prepare The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities: Second Edition report. The report includes analysis extending well beyond economic and fiscal benefits to measure downtown’s value in promoting equity and inclusion; diverse economic opportunity; cultural, economic and entrepreneurial innovation; civic engagement; community across increasingly rigid lines of economic, racial and cultural diversity; environmental responsibility and resilience; and related issues. The findings are supported through analysis of real data from 24 downtowns with urban place management organizations across the United States. David will provide an overview of the report findings as a lead into our first panel discussion where we will apply a NJ lens to the downtown value proposition.

  • 10:30 am – Panel I

The Value of Downtown: IDA’s The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities: Second Edition report focuses on understanding the value of downtowns through five principles – economy, inclusion, vibrancy, identity and resilience. Using the report as a basis for discussion, the panelists will share success stories about initiatives that have added to the value of NJ downtowns from the broader perspective of these five principles.

– David D. Dixon, FAIA, Planning and Urban Design Leader, Stantec’s Urban Places (Moderator)
– Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, President, Suasion Communications Group
– Jef Buehler, Placemaking & Place-Based Revitalization Specialist, NJ Department of Community Affairs (Invited)
– Ollyn Lettman, Executive Director, Bloomfield Center
– Vanessa Quijano, Director of Small Business Services, JCEDC

  • 11:45 pm – Lunch

Downtown Excellence Awards Presentation: Each year Downtown New Jersey recognizes New Jersey’s best downtown projects and programs completed within the last two years. Winning submissions are considered models worthy of emulation and are promoted on Downtown New Jersey’s website and are recognized at the DNJ Conference.

  • 1:15 pm – Panel 2: 

Growing + Retaining Business in Your Downtown: Some downtown districts are bustling with a low retail vacancy rates, while others have problematic gaps in their retail market. No matter the situation, improvement district leaders need to be connecting with business and property owners to keep their downtowns bustling. Whether it’s providing critical services and support to existing businesses or strategically attracting new ones, improvement district managers and board members are critical to sustaining and promoting their downtown as a destination for residents and visitors alike. This panel will teach downtown district leaders strategies to attract retailers and keep those already in your districts thriving.

– Elayne McClaine, Regional Director, NJ Small Business Development Center at Rutgers New Brunswick (Moderator)
– Larisa Ortiz, Managing Director, Streetsense
– Chelsea Selby, CEO/Owner, Witch Baby Soap
– Melvin Sykes, Vice President, Option 1 Realty Group
Eric Maywar, Economic Development Specialist, City of Trenton Division of Economic Development

  • 2:45 pm – Food Tour of Bloomfield (additional ticketed event with discount to conference attendees – SOLD OUT)

Come see what everyone is talking about on a Food Tour organized by the Bloomfield Center Alliance and EMI Strategy. The tour will make stops at 3-4 Bloomfield dining venues where we’ll sample fantastic food, meet the chefs, learn some local Bloomfield history, and find out what’s next from Bloomfield Center Alliance staff. The ticket price is discounted to $15 for conference attendees. So join us on a fun, food-filled guided tour of Bloomfield Center where many of the town’s culinary gems are located.

Read about Bloomfield’s food scene in the Star Ledger, and catch Bloomfield’s feature as one of the 15 Best Under the Radar Dining Destinations in New Jersey.

  • 4:15 pm – Networking Reception at Essex Junction (Included in conference registration

Approved for AICP CM continuing education credits.

OR, every sponsorship level comes with at least two (2) registrations, so be sure to check out conference sponsorship opportunities before you register.
More information about sponsorship.

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors!