The Brand New Day, Inc., a community development corporation, asked Project Community to perform a retail market analysis of the Elizabethport area of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Although part of the city of Elizabeth, historically, Elizabethport has been a separate settlement because of its unique waterfront location. Today, Elizabethport is geographically isolated from the rest of the city by three impenetrable boundaries. To the northeast, it is bounded by the old Singer Sewing Machine factory and railroad lines, to the northwest by the New Jersey Turnpike, and to the southeast by the Arthur Kill waterway. Once a bustling hub, Elizabethport has become one of Elizabeth's most distressed areas. Elizabethport has a rich retail, industrial, and residential history. In the 1950s, when the Singer sewing machine plant was at the height of production, First Street was a bustling residential/retail area serving the local workers. In addition, regional stores such as Levy's Shoes drew crowds from outside the city and county. The closing of the Singer Plant in the late 1960s is symbolic of the withdrawal of many businesses and residents from Elizabethport.
Formed in 1985 as a nonprofit corporation and working in the Elizabethport neighborhood, Brand New Day originally focused its activities on the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units and in conjunction with the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center, on provision of social services. Brand New Day now wants to expand into the commercial arena. Developing businesses in the Elizabethport area would not only enhance the quality of life for residents in terms of having their needs met locally, it would provide employment opportunities as well.
Brand New Day looked to acquire commercial properties in the areas that need redevelopment. The directors found three potential sites.
Our mission in Elizabethport was to perform a retail market study that would allow us to tell the Brand New Day organization two things:
Our analysis followed a traditional retail market study model1. First, we determined the trade area and performed a physical inventory. Second, we created an instrument to survey residents about their retail needs and current shopping patterns. Third, we gathered information about income and households in order to estimate consumer expenditures. Finally, we researched existing programs, projects, and developments that currently impact retail development in Elizabethport.Trade Area Determination
Geographically, Elizabethport is easily defined. Three impenetrable boundaries lined the parameters of our research area (see Appendix 1): to the northeast along Trumbull Street the old Singer Sewing Machine factory; to the northwest the New Jersey Turnpike; and to the southeast the Arthur Kill waterway. Elizabeth Avenue, a main thoroughfare in Elizabeth, served as the southwesterly boundary.Because our research area covers roughly fifty blocks, dividing Elizabethport into primary and secondary market areas became necessary. At the outset of our research, determining the physical parameters of the primary neighborhood-the neighborhood that Brand New Day serves-proved to be a difficult task. Elizabethport seemed to be comprised of many overlapping neighborhoods. However, through observations made in the field, consultations with Brand New Day Director Jay Bloom and a meeting with community task force members, the primary market area, area "A", and two secondary market areas, areas "B" and "C", were determined (see Appendix 2).
Census tract boundaries largely correspond to the boundaries of the Elizabethport market areas. The primary trade area-area "A"-is composed of Census Tract 304 and is bounded by Pine and Bond Streets to the northeast, the New Jersey Turnpike to the northwest, the Arthur Kill waterway to the southeast, and Fulton Street to the southwest. Census Tract 303, located in the northeastern section of Elizabethport, is secondary area "B". This area is bounded by the railroad tracks to the northeast, the New Jersey Turnpike to the northwest, Pine and Bond Streets to the southwest, and the Arthur Kill waterway to the southeast. Two Census Block Groups in Census Tract 305, in the southwestern portion of the neighborhood, combine to make up secondary market area "C". Block group 305-1 consists of the neighborhood that is bounded by Second Street, Fulton St., the New Jersey Turnpike and Elizabeth Avenue. Block group 305-2 consists of the residential neighborhood that is bounded by Second Street, Fulton Street, Front Street, and Elizabeth Avenue. It also includes the largely uninhabited industrial area that borders on Front Street, Elizabeth Avenue, and the Arthur Kill waterway.
The residents of the primary and secondary market areas are a mix of African-American, Hispanic, and white non-Hispanic residents (see Table 1). While the primary area has an almost equal distribution of African-American and Hispanic residents, the percentage of African-Americans is highest in the primary area and drops substantially in the secondary areas. Meanwhile, the proportion of Hispanics is large in all of these areas especially in area "C". Although there are single-family detached and attached homes in the Brand New Day neighborhood, many primary market area residents live in Elizabethport's public housing developments, Pioneer Homes, and Miglorie Manor. In the secondary areas, single-family detached and attached homes are the dominant shelter configuration.Table 1. Elizabethport Demographics
|Market Area||Total Population||Total Households||Percent African American||Percent Hispanic*||Income|
|Percent of Households with Incomes Less than $10,000||Median Household Income|
|Primary Area A||5,908||1,648||43.9%||44.6 %||36.5%||$16,915|
|Secondary Area B||3,234||1,022||12.1%||40.2 %||10.4%||$25,240|
|Secondary Area C||2,214||635||9.7%||62.0%||11.0%||$33,640|