Montclair Center, N.J. Wins 2015 Great American Main Street Award
Recognized as Outstanding Example of Downtown Revitalization
The National Main Street Center announced today that Montclair Center, New Jersey has been chosen as a 2015 Great American Main Street Award® (GAMSA) winner. Each year, the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recognizes the country’s best examples of comprehensive commercial district revitalization. Winners are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a national jury based on successful and innovative uses of the Center’s patented Four-Point Approach®. Montclair Center BID received the award at the 2015 National Main Streets Conference held in Atlanta.
The Montclair Center BID utilized the National Main Street Center’s methodology to create a place that appeals to residents and visitors of all ages and businesses of all types. Located just 13 miles from New York City, Montclair Center was once known as a bedroom community with a depressed downtown. Today, it is home to diverse restaurants, a robust arts scene, and interesting small businesses. Montclair Center BID guided this evolution by working with citizens and partners to improve key streets and storefronts, strengthen local businesses and recruit new ones, and develop events that keep downtown fresh and fun.
“Montclair Center is a superb example of what we’re seeing nationally: Americans, in increasing numbers, are drawn to walkable, attractive downtowns with a lively arts, shopping and restaurant scene,” says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We salute Montclair Center BID’s successes so far in attracting residents, visitors and businesses and feel certain they will continue to make great strides in the future.”
The result is that Montclair Center has transformed beyond being a great place to live and raise a family into being a great place to live, work and play. Downtown vacancy in the 1990s hovered around 50 percent. Today, retail vacancy is only about 10 percent and office space vacancy is about 3 percent. A historic church that was converted into Class A office space was fully leased before it opened and its quirky, high-end space has drawn a creative business class that has downtown buzzing. The impact is significant: more than 200 jobs were created and private investment totaled $20 million in 2014 with another $40 million expected in 2015.
The other two 2015 winners are Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Rawlins, Wyoming. Criteria for winning include: strength of the Main Street in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit; commitment to historic preservation; implementation of model partnerships, and demonstrated success of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.®
To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit http://mainstreet.org
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based community revitalization. It was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation 35 years ago and has been implemented by more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.
About the National Main Street Center
Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach.® The Center participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 35-year history. Now a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues.