In 2013, the Historic Trust accepted the donation of a perpetual
preservation and conservation easement on this landmark building in
Woodbury (Gloucester County). The Green Building was listed on the New
Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 2001 for its significance
in the area of community development and its architectural significance as
a vernacular example of the Romanesque style applied to a commercial
building. The easement will protect the unique historic architectural
features, such as the windows, cornice and historic masonry, that contribute
to the building’s significance.
Constructed in 1880 by prominent businessman George G. Green, the
impressive brick block in downtown Woodbury originally housed
commercial retail space, offices, meeting space and a 1,000-seat opera
house. The Green Block was the largest building in Woodbury and the
center of civic and cultural activity. Green amassed his fortune first through
the manufacture of patent medicines and then through successful business
enterprises throughout the county. He utilized his wealth locallyy to spur
Woodbury’s development and support community welfare.
The opera house was converted to a movie theater,
active until its closure in 1955. When the interior was
converted to a large retail space, an incompatible false
front was installed on the second story exterior (right).
The building was vacated in 2000, and deteriorated to the
point that it was scheduled to be demolished in 2012.
RPM Development, LLC, however, realized the potential for this once
grand building and proposed a reuse plan for the block. Under the
guidance of the National Park Service and the New Jersey Historic
Preservation Office, the developer completed the restoration and
rehabilitation project in 2013. The project relied on a complex finance
package including low-income housing credit and federal investment tax
credits. Senior housing now occupies the upper floors of the structure,
while stores at the street level will again contribute to Woodbury’s
The NJ Historic Trust holds the preservation easement, which was a
requirement on the part of city when the building was sold to the
developer. The easement insures that the G.G. Green Building remains a
landmark far into the future.