Wow, good for New Brunswick. That downtoen area is a true comeback story.
January 9, 2004
New Brunswick Moving Up From New Rentals to Condos
By RACHELLE GARBARINE
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — After years of renewal efforts in the downtown business district here that have produced mostly rental apartment buildings, construction is to begin this month on a 25-story condominium tower that will be this city's tallest structure.
The new building is to have 120 one- to three-bedroom apartments, with sales prices of $250,000 to $500,000. It will also have 6,500 square feet of stores and 35,000 square feet of office space. An adjacent seven-story, 425-car garage will also be on the site, which is nearly one-acre and is now used for parking.
The development is at Spring and Paterson Streets, one block from a New Jersey Transit train station and two blocks from the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson.
Construction of the tower, which will cost nearly $50 million and will be named Spring Street Plaza, follows years of residential construction downtown that generated about 1,000 new and renovated mixed-income rentals. "Condominiums are the next step," said Omar Boraie, Spring Street Plaza's developer, "because the downtown needs housing for people to stay in town, spend money and energize the city."
Glenn Patterson, director of the Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development for New Brunswick, noted that 75 percent of the city's residents are renters. "The city certainly would like to increase its percentage of homeowners and establish a less transient population," he said.
Among the latest rental projects downtown has been the conversion of the 14-story former Middlesex County administration building into 70 mixed-income rentals that Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia developed with the nonprofit New Brunswick Development Corporation.
Nearby, a building with 417 market-rate rental apartments is nearing completion on one of two former parking lots across Neilson Street from each other. The second lot was to house up to 360 more rentals, but it may now include a "for-sale component to respond to New Brunswick's maturing residential market," said Richard F.X. Johnson, a senior vice president at the Matrix Development Group of Cranbury, which is developing the buildings with several partners.
There was one earlier for-sale housing development downtown, 33 town houses built in the 1990's, that initially "was a tough sell," Mr. Patterson said. But resales at the enclave are healthy, with homes selling recently for $291,000 to $425,000, said Ruth Gebhardt, manager of Golden Key Realty.
Mr. Boraie said the market would support Spring Street Plaza because the downtown — which a decade ago had turned desolate after businesses closed at 6:00 p.m. — has, with the increasing number of residences, restaurants and entertainment centers, become more of a round-the-clock environment. "People will be willing to buy an apartment," he said, "since they feel more comfortable living in New Brunswick and feel it is safe." Also favoring the project are low mortgage rates and a 30-year tax abatement from the city, he said.
Costas Kondylis and Partners of Manhattan has designed the tower, which is to be built by Tishman Construction over the next 18 months.
Mr. Boraie's company, Boraie Development, which he runs with his two sons, Wasseem and Samer, was among the early developers active in New Brunswick's revival. Boraie Development bought the site last year from the city's parking authority.
The site is in a redevelopment area where buildings generally are up to 150 feet tall. The city amended the zoning to 265 feet for the Spring Street project, however, enabling it to rise to its proposed height.
The city, Mr. Patterson said, "wanted a substantial enough project to make a positive impact downtown and attract buyers."
Mr. Patterson said he expected future development to include more for-sale housing. Five blocks from Spring Street Plaza, 33 condominiums, to sell for $300,000 to $500,000, are part of a mixed-use building that, when completed in 2005, will also have 250 hotel rooms, as well as retail, conference and academic space.
Mr. Kondylis said the apartments at Spring Street Plaza, which will be 800 to 1,700 square feet and all with balconies, would have features associated with the Manhattan condominiums he designs, like floor-to-ceiling glass window walls at the corners of the building and marble baths.
Among the planned amenities are a gym and swimming pool. There will also be a 20,000-square-foot landscaped area atop the garage that will include a barbecue area, dog run and putting green.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Wow, good for New Brunswick. That downtoen area is a true comeback story.
New Brunswick's my town, folks. Ironic that the first I'm hearing about this is from this board, and posted by someone in Geneva, no less. I need to may more attention to local developments, or at least try to read the NY Times before Mr. Weiland gets to it.
This will be good for the downtown area, which is pretty deserted after-hours. I will have to get used to a Costas Kondlyis dominating the skyline. NYC just absorbs these things, but this going to stick out like a sore thumb here (the site is kind of on a hill, too). There are uglier things in the skyline, though. From the developer's website:
I was in New Brunswick over this past weekend, and I noticed several new projects that have recently broke ground.
-A building south of the existing Robert Wood Johnson complex broke ground in the first quarter. It's now been topped off (it's a steel office structure). The facade should start going up soon...I am assuming it will be the typical precast concrete paneling/brick with some large floor-to-ceiling windows.
-The Rutgers School of Nursing complex broke ground a few months ago just east of the Northeast Corridor rail line, and the foundation for one of the buildings has begun to take shape.
-Demo work has almost been completed at the site on George Street across from Rutgers' Rockoff Hall. About a year ago, I read an article in The Home News Tribune about the building, to be called "The New Brunswick Arts Building" (the article apparently has been taken off the internet since). It will be a 10-11 story market-rate rental building, designed to fit in with the new Rockoff Hall and Heldrich Plaza buildings.
-And finally, the Gateway Tower appears to be indeed moving along (I though it was dead, especially considering housing market conditions). There was equipment onsite today for soil testing, which usually happens within months of ground breaking. I wouldn't be surprised if they break ground on this next-tallest for New Bruns in either Q4 of 2007 or Q1 of 2008.
I might be back in NB next weekend to get some photos...they'll be posted on here for those interested.
From way back in June of 2004, the below was stated in an article regarding what's going to go up soon across the street from Rockoff Hall on George Street (note that "College Hall" refers to Rockoff Hall):
"Directly across George Street from College
Hall will be the Arts Building, a project
with 100 new market-rate apartments
that will be built with pride and
managed by our partners at Pennrose
Properties. Pennrose Properties is the
developer who brought notoriety to
quality urban senior living in New
Brunswick with the highly successful
Providence Square (the before-mentioned
former cigar factory) and Livingston
Manor senior citizen communities."
Link (see page 2): http://www.cityofnewbrunswick.org/ma...ue_article.pdf
There appears to be nothing at all on the Pennrose website regarding this project (or any other new project they may be involved in).
Check back here in the next 16 hours or so for some pics of what's going on at this site (and others) in New Bruns...
I guess I'll start this one off with the Gateway Center project, which will be New Brunswick's tallest building (as well as NJ's tallest building outside of the immediate NYC metro area). Last weekend, I noticed some equipment used for soil sampling sitting in the dirt parking lot that occupies part of the site. This weekend, I noticed that one store has already relocated from the site to another location, so it's looking like at least site prep work should start within the next six months or so (that's a guess). Anyway, here's an overview of the site, as seen from the intersection of Somerset Street and Easton Avenue:
Here's the lower part of the site. The height of the Gateway Center tower has been quoted at 330', but I'm not sure if that's measured from this lower level or the higher level of the buildings in the pic above:
The Verizon store has already relocated to a retail outlet in the retail portion of the nearby Rutgers University Center midrise building:
Moving more toward the center of Downtown, the site of the "Arts Building" is undergoing prep work. Several lowrise structures have been torn down, and all that remains are the foundations of the former buildings, which are being excavated:
View of the site from the intersection of George and Liberty streets:
Rutgers' Rockoff Hall is in the background of this pic. This is the third of the four corners at the intersection of Liberty and George Streets to see a groundbreaking since 2003. About a block west, another major project is supposedly in the planning stages that calls for a mixed-use building of 24 stories and another midrise (see emporis.com for details):
Ground has also broken at the site of the Rutgers School of Nursing:
Tons of rebar and casts for creating the foundation's concrete structure were on site.
Work has started on the foundation of at least one of the buildings planned for the site:
On French Street, a 13-level parking deck has been built, and a new 9-story office building (to House Robert Wood Johson offices) is under construction:
Looking down French Street from the South:
One last look from French Street:
There is one unique redevelopment project going on a little farther from the center of downtown. This project is the conversion of a former school (Lord Stirling School) into a residential building. Looking at the project from the corner of Hassart Street and Abeel Street:
Looking west from Carman Street:
One last view of the eastern side of the building:
Two other large projects are nearing completion. One is the Heldrich Center building (of which the retail section is not 100% complete yet). Viewing the building from the site of the upcoming Arts Building:
Looking East along Livingston Ave:
The other project nearing completion is the PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital. It is under construction next to the new French Street garage & RWJ office building (see above pics) on Somerset Street:
Originally scheduled to be completed this year, the anticipated date of completion for the Gateway has been moved back by 3 years to 2011. Also, the design has changed, with a much taller base and much wider tower (so it won't look as tall from the North or South, but it will look pretty massive). Instead of a 24-story residential tower, it will be either 15 or 16 stories on top of the taller base.
Demolition work won't begin until at least October or November, as indicated in a recent article in the Daily Targum. Of course, demolition of all existing structures, as well as excavation of the site and any remediation necessary will have to take place before construction can actually begin. My guess is that work on the foundation of this building will begin sometime in the second quarter of 2009.
Updated project stats as well as a new rendering can be found here:
Article from the Daily Targum about NJ Books' forecasted October move off of the Gateway site:
Last updated: March 14, 2008 08:21am
By Eric Peterson
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ-Officials this week unveiled plans to build a new $275-million, 34-story Downtown tower that would bring commercial and residential uses to the square-block area that currently houses the city’s cultural center. The new building would rise on the block bordered by George and Bayard streets and Livingston Avenue, currently occupied by such venues as the State Theatre and the George Street Playhouse.
“What’s truly exciting is the realization that we’ve come full circle,” says Christopher J. Paladino, president of the New Brunswick Development Corp., who unveiled the plans with Mayor Jim Cahill. “A generation ago, the renovation of the State Theatre and creation of our other theaters set the stage for the incredible economic revitalization that New Brunswick has experienced. We now have the opportunity to use that success to reinvest in the arts.”
The centerpiece tower of what’s being called the New Brunswick Culture Center would have theater- and arts-related uses on its lower two floors, including new 499- and 250-seat theaters that would replace the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre, which would be demolished. The 87-year-old State Theatre, originally built for vaudeville and silent films, would be renovated.
The next dozen stories up would be consist of 300,000 sf of office with 25,000-sf floor plates. And the top 20 stories would be set back and contain condos and apartments, bringing the total building size to approximately 600,000 sf. Onsite parking would be underground.
The arts portion of the site, estimated to cost $44 million to $50 million, would be completed with the help of corporate funding, and officials say they’re already talking to a number of prospective contributors and building occupants. Naming rights are also on the table, and state tax credits of up to $75 million are a possible draw for tenants in the wake of recent legislation in Trenton tied to investment near transit hubs.
“We are able to create new performance venues due to the economic model of the project,” Paladino says. “The office and condominium towers provide the financial foundation for the arts and public space components. And the project qualifies for the recently enacted Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program.”
Demolition of the existing smaller theaters could come as soon as 2009, under current plans, with the new construction taking about two years to build. Projected completion would be late 2011 or early 2012, if all goes according to plans. The State, George Street and Crossroads theaters would be based on-site, with the latter two occupying the two new smaller auditoriums. The New Brunswick Cultural Center would also be home to the American Repertory Ballet and Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.
WOW. So it looks like we may have two new tallest buildings for New Brunswick (and Central NJ for that matter) breaking ground next year. Not to mention several other midrise buildings of 150+ ft in height.
$650M development plan unveiled in New Brunswick
by Sue Epstein/The Star-Ledger
Wednesday March 19, 2008, 9:06 PM
New Brunswick officials unveiled plans today for a $650 million development that eventually would include 760 residential units, office space, a four-story hotel, and a supermarket at the southern end of New Street, adjacent to the train station.
The project, which the developers call "The Pinnacle at New Brunswick Station," would be built on 5.2 acres in phases based on changes in the real estate market. Construction is not expected to start for at least two years. The developer is still negotiating to obtain part of the tract.
"This is another stage in our downtown redevelopment - a pedestrian-friendly use that takes advantage of our mass transit hub," Mayor James Cahill said. "It will function as a gateway to the health care campuses on the other side of the tracks."
Voorhees-based developers Thomas Moore and Larry Levy, who created New Street Area Development LLC for the project, said they began negotiating with property owners in the neighborhood about five years ago and have acquired about two-thirds of the land they need. They are in negotiations with most of the other property owners, both residential and commercial.
The residential units would include condominiums, apartments and townhouses and loft offices designed for lawyers who "want more than regular floor-space units," said Martin Santini, the lead architect on the project.
Santini said a 28-story building would be designed in almost a semicircle, with the other buildings on either side to "create a sense of place." New Street would be widened and end at the complex. Pedestrian walkways would be added along the road.
Part of the project includes creating a road that connects New and Bayard streets, leading to the Middlesex County government buildings and the courthouses.
Glenn Patterson, the city's director of planning and economic development, said the city is doing something different with this project because it has been deemed an "area of rehabilitation" instead of redevelopment area.
"What it means is that the city has no powers of eminent domain to take people's property for this project," Patterson said. "The developer has to negotiate with all of the property owners himself to obtain the land."
More on the 28-story "Pinnacle" proposed for the Kilmer Ave area over at the Daily Targum today...
Last edited by tbal; April 12th, 2008 at 01:53 AM.