CAMDEN, NJ — Last year saw no shortage of hardhats being secured atop the heads of city officials and shovels breaking ground in Camden. 

In addition to a boon of parkland, developers in 2019 opened the Camden Office Tower, renovated the Pierre Building and finished the 11 Cooper Street Apartments.

There was also the much-anticipated opening of the $70-million Joint Health Sciences Center, in October.

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On a recent tour of the four-story facility, Director of Capital Projects on the Rowan University-Rutgers Camden Board of Governors, Dean D’Astuto, told TAPinto Camden that they hope to expand into another building across the street in the future.

“It’s still too early to say what we’ll need to make it possible or what the design will look like but it will of course depend on the needs of the universities,” said D'Astuto, estimating that it would be years in the making. 

Kris Kolluri, CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a proponent of various development projects in the city, said, “The trajectory of Camden’s renaissance continues to be strong.”

“The progress we’ve made has been possible because of the commitment of businesses, elected officials and residents who make sure there's forward momentum in the city,” he added.

Here is a look at ongoing projects to keep an eye on:

ResinTech to relocate

Following the footsteps of Subaru and American Water, chemicals company ResinTech will relocate its global headquarters to Camden.

The move from West Berlin to 18th and Federal streets is expected to be completed this summer, according to a countdown on the company’s website. 

Nearly $140 million in tax incentives from the Economic Opportunity Act and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority were granted to the company in 2016 for the move.

A live cam also advertises the progress of the 27-acre project, which when completed will include two buildings as part of the new headquarters. 

A 180,000 square-foot building will be dedicated to the manufacturing of filter cartridges, and lab water systems, as well as the production of ion exchange resins and activated carbons. Another 175,000-square-foot facility on State and River roads will focus on packaging and production operations. 

First hotel in 50 years

The Hilton Garden Inn, Camden’s first hotel in 50 years, will be located along the waterfront in what was a parking lot next to the former Campbell’s Field.

The hotel, which is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2020, will boast 180 rooms and offer scenic views of the Philadelphia skyline.

Developed by Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Cicalese, the hotel is part of a $1 billion mixed-use project on the waterfront. When finished, it will be the first fully-operating hotel in the city since the Plaza closed in 1985. 

It will also include a 5,000 square-foot meeting room, a bar and a restaurant.

New Camden High School

As recently as last month, the new Camden High School at 1700 Park Blvd. was receiving temporary repairs to its roof as construction powers ahead. The $133 million school is being built on the same 242,000-square-foot parcel of the prior school — which was demolished in 2018. 

When the school opens its doors in the Fall of 2021, it will provide its services to over 1,200 students. What is described by the district as “four small learning communities,” the school will comprise Brimm Medical Arts, Creative Arts High School, Big Picture Learning Academy, and Camden High School.

Students have been attending Hatch Middle School while the construction has been ongoing.

“The school will offer state-of-the-art facilities to meet each school's specific learning needs, including a world-class auditorium for Creative Arts, modern, fully equipped science labs for Brimm, and Drill Rooms and seminar space for Camden High and BPLA,” the school district describes in a statement about the new facility. “The school will have modern gymnasiums, weight and locker rooms, cafeterias, media centers, and staff resources that rival the best public high schools in the State.”

The new Camden High was initially announced in 2016 in conjunction with former Gov. Chris Christie’s vow to rebuild Camden.

Funding for the project was ultimately secured from the New Jersey Schools Development Agency. 

Redesign of downtown street

With the help of a $10 million grant from the Department of Transportation, a vital downtown road along Federal and Market streets will receive significant improvements.

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, which is spearheading the project, will soon begin collecting feedback from community members about potential design options.

The funds will work to revamp the 1.6-mile roadway, as well as improve the interchange at Flanders Avenue and Federal Street.

DePetro plan for Cooper Grant housing

The DePetro Real Estate Organization said it is finalizing plans for a 14-townhouse development between 2nd Street to the east, Front Street to the west, Linden Street to the north, and Penn Street to the south.

“These townhouses, which will include a mix of market rate and affordable units, will deliver attractive housing options and fill a need for quality housing in close proximity to Camden’s waterfront and downtown area,” said DePetro in a market study released last fall.

The development includes two clusters of townhouses, a central open space and a path that connects Penn Street to Centennial Avenue. 

Branches of Centerville groundbreaking

More affordable housing will also come in the form of development to the Branches of Centerville. A groundbreaking this Wednesday morning will celebrate the fourth and final phase of the project. 

In 2016, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $13.2 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant to the Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) and the city of Camden in order to revitalize the area. 

“When all phases of the comprehensive redevelopment of Clement T. Branch Village are completed, some $220 million overall will have been invested in Centerville’s revitalization,” The Michaels Organization said.

Improvements to transportation hub

Last June, the Camden County Board of Freeholders also voted to accept a $7 million grant from NJ Transit to improve the Water Rand Transportation Center (WRTC).

A six-lane pedestrian bridge — part of the investment — along Martin Luther King Blvd intends to make life easier for commuters visiting the center. It will span the transit building to the other side of the street on Broadway near Cooper University Hospital. Construction is set to begin in 2021. 

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