The Heart of Collingswood

The Heart of Collingswood: A Legacy of Long-Term Planning

The vision and planning that have gone into making Collingswood a vibrant community started nearly 25 years ago.

In 2003, the Borough of Collingswood embarked on a journey of long-term strategic planning aimed at revitalizing its downtown after decades of blight and disinvestment. The seeds of this transformation were planted with the "Heart of Collingswood" study, which laid the groundwork for a vision of vibrant community spaces and sustainable development. Building upon this foundation, the Transit Oriented Development study in 2007 further refined the vision, emphasizing connectivity and accessibility. Now, the culmination of these long-term planning efforts is becoming evident as North Atlantic Avenue undergoes redevelopment, embodying the spirit of community collaboration and forward-thinking vision. Welcome to "The Heart of Collingswood," where past plans are transforming into present realities.

The Heart of Collingswood: 2003-2007

In 2003, the Borough of Collingswood began a long-term planning study called “The Heart of Collingswood.” The study aimed to guide and implement the redevelopment of Downtown Collingswood, looking into the future with long-term, strategic planning to develop key areas of the Borough using smart growth principles and public input. A combination of community visioning workshops, charettes, surveys, and more were used to identify buildings, parking areas or land uses that were likely candidates for redevelopment/revitalization. The study, conducted by A. Nelessen Associates (an award-winning visioning, urban planning, and design firm), included developing a common vision while taking into consideration factors such as:

  • building height
  • historic features
  • open space
  • parking
  • retail frontage
  • street types
  • urban design principles

View Heart of Collingswood Presentation (results of visioning workshops, charettes, and long-term planning study).

The visioning workshops and charettes at the center of the "Heart of Collingswood" initiative led to tangible results in the Borough's development. Notably, these sessions contributed to the creation of the LumberYard, a mixed-use project featuring 120 residential condominiums, 21 shops, and an underground parking garage. Additionally, input from residents during the workshops led to general improvements in Downtown Collingswood, including street trees, pole banners, lamp post flower baskets, and street furniture.

Two decades on, the impact of those initial visioning sessions continues to shape the Borough’s decisions. Mayor Jim Maley, who has been at the helm of this planning process, has long shared that the insights gleaned from residents during those workshops provided a foundation for ongoing community engagement and informed decision-making processes. “By understanding the preferences and priorities expressed by our community, we have been able to adapt our approach to transit-oriented urban planning, ensuring that Collingswood remains a place where people want to live, work, and visit,” shared Mayor Maley. “The legacy of those visioning sessions is a testament to the power of our neighbors coming together to help shape our town's future.”

Collingswood Transit-Oriented Development Study: 2007

In 2007, Collingswood partnered with the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) to examine the feasibility of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) at the Collingswood PATCO station. As a result, Collingswood became the first community in New Jersey selected for transit-oriented development at a PATCO commuter train stop.

Subsequently, the Borough facilitated multiple public forums to collect comments from residents about important issues such as traffic flow, building height, density, and other community concerns.

2007 - Present

The Heart of Collingswood study, followed by the TOD study, proved that residents of the Borough were in strong agreement about many items included in the planning process, namely:

  • Identifying the areas along N. Atlantic Ave (the Water Towers) as a strategic site for redevelopment/revitalization.
  • Identifying the site of the former Peter Lumber building as highly likely for redevelopment or revitalization.
  • General support for transit-oriented development
  • Support for taller buildings
  • Strong desire for sustainable, green design
  • Desire for public spaces that can be used for community events and civic gatherings
  • Desire for increased (local) retail in the form of high-density mixed-use commercial/residential buildings.


The first phase of the “Heart of Collingswood” planning process to be realized was the construction of the LumberYard, a mixed-use development on Haddon Avenue with 120 residential condominiums, 21 shops, and an underground parking garage; completed in 2012.

Lumberyard Before - Copy (2)Lumberyard - Copy



Two capital improvement and infrastructure repair programs lead to streetscape improvements along Haddon Avenue including the Millennium Clock, Memorial Walk, lamp post flower baskets, pole banners, street trees, and street furniture.

Completion of the Borough’s Public Safety Building in 2021 along with the upcoming relocation of Collingswood’s Department of Public Works have cleared the way for the final phase of planning that began with the Heart of Collingswood Study: transit-oriented development on N. Atlantic Avenue, one block next to Haddon Avenue; involving approximately 1.8 acres previously used for surface parking. New development will include high-density, mixed-use residential buildings, a parking structure, civic plaza, and more.