Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


One Thompson Avenue

Project Name: One Thompson Avenue

Development of a 70-unit family building in Dover on a previously underutilized municipal parking lot fulfills Dover’s master plan, adds density, mirrors local architecture, and provides the first affordable housing development in town in over a decade.

Primary Partner Team: MidAtlantic Engineering | NJ Transit | Pennrose, LLC | Thriven Design | Town of Dover


It’s imperative that our municipalities reevaluate their public assets, especially underutilized parking lots. This is all the more crucial in smaller towns that lack the wealth of major urban centers, creating a pressure to be particularly thoughtful in redeveloping the municipality to improve economic conditions while serving existing communities.

Since the adoption of their master plan in 2018, the Town of Dover has been looking for opportunities to add density to downtown. Dover has since executed an ambitious development of a new 70-unit family building on a former parking lot, adding density and providing the first affordable housing development in town in years, all in accordance with the town’s master plan. Dover seized the opportunity to complete its streets and connect blocks, helping to recreate the neighborhood, thereby reducing auto-dependency, complementing neighborhood commercial uses, and creating a walkable downtown.

One major initial hurdle in redeveloping this site was the existing, underutilized parking lot that carried a deed restriction to remain public parking in support of the NJ Transit station located half a mile away. The restriction granted ownership to the Town, but stymied the redevelopment potential of the lot. The developer, Town of Dover, and NJ Transit were ultimately able to come to an agreement whereby some of the parking for the new development would be shared during the day to allow for public parking, with other parking replaced with on‐ and off‐street parking spaces around the town as a method for compensation for “lost” parking spaces. This agreement was beneficial to all parties, unlocking the redevelopment potential of the site and creating a blueprint for future redevelopment on lots with NJ Transit involvement.

Of particular note, this 100% affordable housing project takes special care to house community members in need, providing preference in housing units to military veterans and setting aside units to house formerly unsheltered residents. With architecture that mirrors the character of existing buildings, and by adding density to their downtown, Dover is taking a leap forward with this fully-leased affordable housing project while upholding their local character and housing local residents.

New Jersey Future is excited to award One Thompson Avenue with a Smart Growth Award in 2023. Their innovative reuse of an underutilized parking lot, and creative strategies and collaboration between entities ensures that the final product provides affordable housing in a walkable downtown. Their care and attention to their community’s character and needs through design and housing accessibility are exemplary efforts, worthy alone of commendation. With many more towns like Dover throughout New Jersey, One Thompson Avenue provides a sterling example for other municipalities to follow.


See all 2023 Smart Growth Award winners

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