SMART GROWTH

Downtown North Brunswick Rises from the Ashes of J&J

img_6902-3An ambitious project is underway in North Brunswick where a town is being built from scratch on a scale that hearkens back to pre-World War II construction.

The township and the project developer, North Brunswick TOD (Transit Oriented Development) Associates LLC, aim to create a downtown center with projected completion in 2026.

The massive project, located at 2300 Route 1 North, has been in the works for almost a decade. The 212 acre site, formerly owned by Johnson & Johnson, was purchased by the project developer in 2006.

The development will be a mixed-use community centering around an area of shops, restaurants, a hotel and apartments, known as Main Street’s Central Business District.  On the outskirts of the business district, there will be residential neighborhoods of townhomes and apartments.  There are expected to be 1,875 housing units in all.

Main Street North Brunswick is being called a transit village as it will be anchored by a new train station on the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor line which runs from New York to Trenton.  The development will be completely walkable and residents will have easy access to train and bus service, shopping and dining, according to Jonathan Frieder, managing partner with Garden Homes Development, the parent company for TOD.

Phase I
The first phase of the project includes 158 town homes, 242 rental apartments, a six-story hotel, a restaurant, and 15 and additional retail space.  Currently, Costco and Target have already opened at the site.

Construction of the first section of town homes which have contemporary, urban-like design, is underway.  They are projected to be completed in 2018, but as soon as the first town homes are occupied, there will be commuter bus service provided by Coach-USA/ Suburban Transit from the site, according to Michael Hritz, director of the township’s Department of Community Development.

Future Project Phases Tied to New Station
Future phases of the project will be built in connection the train station and will include a kiosk, public spaces on Main Street and a 500-space park-and-ride.

TOD and NJ Transit have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement which states that NJT will design and construct the train station while TOD will provide the highway and on-site improvements and the parking facility for the train station, according to Frieder.

Included in the proposed NJ Transit plan, but not actually on the site, is a new flyover track to improve operations and efficiencies.

Although NJT has already paid for preliminary design and studies, building the actual train station platforms depends on funding.

However, future phases of the project depend on construction of the train station hang in uncertainty, due to funding issues with the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  NJ Transit is committed to constructing the new station once the TTF is renewed, according to Frieder.

 

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