It’s not that it cant use improvement, but it’s just sad to see another downtown being taken over by another huge development in New Jersey.

Downtown Woodbridge is a beautiful, quaint little area with many mom and pop shops and cozy little restaurants, with a handful of boutiques sprinkled in.

Then there is the “redevelopment area.” The part of Woodbridge that can use a little spiffing up. But the problem is, that there is no such thing as “spiffing up” anymore. Because business has changed so dramatically, it’s rare in this day and age to improve a downtown without razing it and starting all over again.

Enter R&O Woodbridge Urban Renewal, a company that’s about to turn 21 acres of downtown Woodbridge into 376 residential units and 20,000 square feet of retail space.

Woodbridge is one of the most populous towns in New Jersey. Made up of 10 different mostly working-class neighborhoods, Woodbridge is a township that has certainly had its ups and downs. And so, as is the case in many hardscrabble New Jersey towns just like it, there have been more and more gentrification efforts in recent years. But still, there’s a charm about the town that makes it distinctly New Jerseyesque. And it’s filled with REAL New Jerseyans. Anybody who has ever visited there knows exactly what I mean. And that charm is slowly fading.

It not that urban renewal is a bad thing. We’ve seen many New Jersey neighborhoods go through similar changes and do well, with property values increasing, jobs brought to the area and overall improvement of the revitalized area. Still, there’s something poignant about another downtown being demolished to make way for more chain hotels, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-As. But that’s progress. And that’s New Jersey.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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