who we are
Experience Princeton is a nonprofit organization established in 2022 as the Princeton Business Partnership, Inc., a Special Improvement District (SID) dedicated to strengthening and promoting all of Princeton, New Jersey, through placemaking, marketing and economic development.
Experience Princeton serves a wide and varied geographic area that includes large shopping centers and small boutiques, hotels and conference centers, unique residential neighborhoods, historic sites and cultural landmarks, major roadways, quiet backstreets and, of course, one of the world’s most prestigious and beautiful universities.
Our Place in the World
Though located about equidistant from New York and Philadelphia, Princeton stands on its own as a unique municipality that attracts entrepreneurs, innovators, business owners, community leaders, service organizations, tourists and residents, as well as students and academics.
Princeton is simply a wonderful place to be. We are excited and proud to be a champion for its success and a partner in its future.
Experience Princeton shall shape, maintain and grow a flourishing Princeton economy by offering an exceptional experience for residents and visitors; and advocate for a robust and diverse business community through strong partnerships.
“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions; by going off the main road; by trying the untried.”
Board of Directors
Kristin Appelget, Princeton University
Joy Chen, Joycards
Omar Delgado, Say Cheez
Julie Drobits, Edens
Caleb Feiring, Princevest
Mark Freda, Municipality of Princeton
Matthew Giammanco, AvalonBay Communities
Aubrey Haines, Princeton Property Partners
Jamie Herring, Herring Properties
Bob Hillier, Studio Hillier
Michelle Pirone Lambros, Municipality of Princeton
Lance Liverman, Liverman Properties
Helena May, 300 Witherspoon
Raoul Momo, Terra Momo Restaurant Group
Jennifer Podolsky, Princeton Public Library
Lori Rabon, Palmer Square
Andrew Siegel, Hamilton Jewelers
Experience Princeton encourages members of the community to participate in its work by joining one of these four volunteer-run teams: Economic Development, Marketing and Events, Governance, and Streetscape and Services.
Anyone interested is invited to join. Contact us at Isaac@princetonbusiness.org for more information or to volunteer.
Fun Facts + Stellar Stats
Since Experience Princeton was established ...
Channels Set Up
Opened in the SID
Special Improvement Districts (SID)
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Why is Experience Princeton considered a Special Improvement District (SID)? What are the benefits of being part of a SID? What services does a SID offer its community? These are just some of the most frequently asked questions we are asked.
A Special Improvement District (SID) is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district.
The idea for the SID is modeled on the shared maintenance programs of many suburban shopping centers. Tenants of a mall pay a common area maintenance fee to underwrite services that enhance the appearance of the common areas and provide cooperative advertising for the mall and its stores.
A SID works in much the same way. However, because a SID has multiple property owners (not one, as in a mall), they agree to the extra fee (assessment). Thus, stakeholders in a commercial district can align themselves to improve their area in much the same way as does a mall operation.
Several advantages from this arrangement are:
- A cleaner, safer and more attractive business district
- A steady and reliable funding source for supplemental services and programs
- The ability to respond quickly to changing needs of the business community
- Potential to increase property values and decrease commercial vacancy rates
- A district that is better able to compete with nearby retail and business centers
A Special Improvement District delivers a range of supplemental services in coordination with municipal services and invests in the long-term economic development of their district. These supplemental services and improvements may include the following:
- Maintenance: street/sidewalk cleaning, graffiti removal
- Public Safety/Hospitality: public safety officers, visitor assistance
- Business Development: commercial vacancy reduction, business mix improvement
- Marketing: special events, public relations, promotional materials, holiday decorations
- Capital Improvements: improved streetlights, custom trash receptacles, directional street signage, custom news boxes, flower boxes
- Landscaping: planting trees/flowers, tree pit maintenance
- Community Service: fundraising, charitable events, homeless and youth services
Funds to pay for SID programs and services are generated from a special assessment paid by the benefited property owners. (Note: Many leases have a clause that allows property owners to pass the SID assessment on to their tenants.) The assessment is billed and collected by the municipal government and then disbursed to the SID, which in turn delivers the district services.
A SID assessment is a fee that each property owner pays to support the operations of the SID. The sum of all the individual assessments that property owners pay comprise the total yearly assessment of the SID, and underwrite most, if not all, annual operating expenses. The total yearly assessment is unique to each SID. The amount paid by each property owner is determined by a formula that each SID creates for its district during the formation process. Formulas are based upon property size and/or value.
Different properties may pay different assessments depending upon their type of zoning classification. For instance, commercial, business and retail properties are all assessed at 100% of the assessment rate established. Not-for-profit owned and occupied properties generally do not pay an assessment, but may be charged a fee. City, state and or federal properties do not pay an assessment. Each district decides on their own how they will assess their unique different property classifications. A business that operates out of a residential property is usually assessed at a lower percentage of the full assessment, but is assessed nonetheless.
While property owners and tenants could participate in a voluntary merchants’ association, the SID model presents two distinct advantages:
Provide a steady and reliable source of funding.
Legislation states that all property owners in a SID must pay assessments; there are no free rides.
Do not offer a continuous source of funding; depends on voluntary contributions.
Cannot enforce the financial participation of all stakeholders in a given district.
No. The services provided by the SID are supplemental to the services provided to the district by the municipality. For example, if a SID provides sanitation services, it will still receive the same level of service from the municipality’s Public Works/Sanitation as it did before the supplemental services were added.
Each SID is governed by a Board of Trustees that is elected by the members of the district or in accordance with the bylaws. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the SID and hires the management that administers the SID on a day-to-day basis. The Board is divided into classes that include commercial property owners, business owners, retail tenants, public officials and sometimes residents. The Board should be representative of the district, but the majority of Trustees must be property owners.
SIDs represent a long-term financial commitment; therefore, the formation of a new SID requires the support of the property owners, business owners and the tenants in the district. A municipality creates a SID only when there is widespread support among the property owners, business owners and tenants, who are fully informed about the proposed program.
There are usually three phases in the formation of a SID:
- Phase One: Planning
- Phase Two: Outreach
- Phase Three: Legislative Authorization