EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Construction has been progressing around East Brunswick over the past few months, providing some locations for new buildings and repurposed old ones as the township redevelops into a venue for life, education, and business in the literal heart of New Jersey. It's easy to see the new configuration of the old K-Mart building on Route 18 South and the finalization of the bowling complex near Arooga's. Some spots, though they remain a mystery to locals, hold the key to the movement within the business community and local government to change the look and functionality of East Brunswick. At the East Brunswick Township Council meeting last week, some of the mystery was revealed.
Amy Denholtz Lewandowski, EB's Economic Development Officer, presented an overview of rising economics as we move into the '20's. In her report, she stated, " Economic development entails improving the economic well-being of a community through efforts such as job creation and retention, tax-base enhancements, and quality of life. She added, "Economic development is not just about building, selling, or leasing a building. It is about building a community and championing a dream."
The dream, which has been the object of two years worth of discussion, review, voting, and initiation, is starting to take shape. The East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce has been revitalized, with local business owners gaining strength from communal effort, so the township has more internal resources from which to draw. The Redevelopment Plan for the zone encompassing Route 18 South between the Turnpike and Ferris Street has led to an incremental demolition of unused properties, clearing the way for residences and businesses on the north end of town. Development around the Park Chateau has brought high-end spending to Cranbury Road.
The Park Chateau Hotel will be adjacent to the Estate and Gardens, which has gained recognition as a top New Jersey wedding venue. The hotel will include a full restaurant, breakfast buffet, a bar/lounge, 108 guest rooms, 8 bridal suites, offices, conference rooms, a pool and a gym.
The restaurant in the hotel will be a Roots Steakhouse, which recently opened a location in Princeton. Roots is an old-fashioned New York-style steakhouse with locations in Summit, Morristown, and Ridgewood, NJ. The menu features the house specialty steaks and chops, entree salads and seafood.
Lewandowski welcomed new businesses which have opened or are opening soon in East Brunswick.
The list includes the following venues:
- At Home Recreation at a new location off Route 18 North
- East Hana Japanese Restaurant at a new location in Mid-State Mall
- New businesses at 111 Main Street (near 7-11)
- Planet Fitness - Route 18 North near Burger King
- Footbik (youth soccer) at the Brunswick Square Mall
- CVS Summerhill Road
- Chase Bank Summerhill Road
- Habit Burger - Route 18 South
- Crunch Fitness - Route 18 South at former K-Mart location
- Rock n Air - at former Toys-R-Us location
- Comcast/Xfinity at the Brunswick Square Mall
- Elite Focus Alliance - Harts Lane
Lewandowski also described the township's efforts at professional outreach both within and outside the community. She noted increased strength in social media; community gatherings and support events; and increased notifications and publications. The meeting was also the "reveal" of the new township logo, EB- the Center of New Jersey, which is featured in this article.