Greater Trenton — the new nonprofit promising economic revitalization of New Jersey’s capital city — named its founding chief executive officer, George D. Sowa, on July 18.
Sowa, a 57-year-old Trenton native, is the former executive vice president and senior managing director for Brandywine Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest, publicly traded real estate companies.
Sowa — who led Brandywine’s development of the Campbell Soup Company’s ambitious Gateway District in Camden — cited Trenton’s position as a transportation hub on the Delaware River and its historical and cultural resources as positive resources at the event announcing his appointment. While noting that Trenton has a wonderful history, he said, “We cannot be bound by the past.”
Sowa’s first tasks are to choose a location for the group’s headquarters and to assemble a staff to implement Greater Trenton’s key objectives: to develop a long-term strategic plan and work collaboratively with public and private partners to spur development opportunities and bring new investments to the greater Trenton area, with an emphasis on the downtown core.
Greater Trenton co-chairs, NJM CEO Bernie Flynn and former New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini, presided over the event.
Sowa’s winning attributes, they said, included his personal connection to Trenton, administration skill set, and experience in urban economic development — including two new development projects totaling over $100 million in New Brunswick.
Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said he looked forward to “advancing economic development initiatives in concert with the work that the city is already doing; projects that will bring jobs and investment needed to promote the city’s revival.” Projects such as Roebling Lofts, the New Jersey Realtors Association new headquarters building, Thomas Edison State University’s new nursing school, and Mercer County Community College’s expansion are proof that “Trenton is poised for growth,” said Jackson.
Prior to joining Brandywine, Sowa was director of development for Keating Development Company and director of development/operations for Linpro/LCOR, a real estate investment and development company specializing in urban development projects. He serves on the National Board and Executive Committee of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) and is vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey. Sowa also holds a real estate broker’s license in New Jersey and a real estate sales license in Pennsylvania and earned a B.S. from Cornell University.
Greater Trenton’s board of directors includes representation from some of the region’s influential institutions: NJM Insurance Group, Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Investors Bank, TD Bank, Capital Health, PSEG, Thomas Edison State University, Wells Fargo Bank, Princeton University, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
The organization’s board of directors has made a multi-year commitment to fund this initiative.