EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At Monday's open Redevelopment Agency meeting, Councilman and Agency Chair Jim Wendell was joined by Executive Director Michael Hughes as they introduced a new equity partner for East Brunswick's Redevelopment Zone on Route 18 South. Russo Development will join the township and River Development as partners in the growth of the Route 18 commercial and residential corridor. Hughes recognized the engagement as "the first step of a multi-step process" to execute a "vision for Route 18."
Warren Waters, representing River Development the company that has designed the original plan for the construction of residential, transportation, commercial, entertainment, and hotel units on the land between Eggers Street and Ferris Street, praised East Brunswick for having "the courage to select us as a developer" and "finding someone who understood the product we put forward." The plan calls for the development of a transit center and will provide more than 1200 residential units built in an aesthetically pleasing modern design. The center will offer numerous retail, entertainment, and hospitality components, including restaurants, markets, and a hotel/tech center while maximizing space to promote communal gathering areas, says the developer's web page.
Ed Russo of Russo Development described his "second-generation" business begun in 1969, saying that he follows his father as a "high-quality developer."
"We are excited to present our design and are on the precipice of being able to submit a proposal," he said. Russo has worked in Woodbridge, Union, Waldwick, Garwood, Verona, and Hackensack and other towns in northern New Jersey.
"East Brunswick presented a visible location that warrants something special," Russo noted. "There is tremendous visibility due to the frontage on Route 18. The location is close to the Turnpike which is an important intersection. The community surrounding the site is full of retail businesses. The redevelopment will make change. We are able to justify commercially building a high-quality development. The existing market in East Brunswick can support it. This will not be a "vanilla" residential and retail location. It will be a unique site."
Hughes added that Russo Development Is "cutting edge." Russo invited the Redevelopment Agency members to visit comparable projects in Union to see what the buildings are like.
Mayor Brad Cohen, also present at the meeting, added, "We are re-inventing a commercial corridor." Cohen said that the two companies will work together. Ultimately, it will not go through the Redevelopment Agency or the Planning Board. The East Brunswick Redevelopment Plan for this area of Route 18 was approved in 2018.
The following members of the East Brunswick Redevelopment Agency were also in attendance:
- Allison Nagelberg
Vice Chair and Commissioner
- Mirah Adah Becker, AICP/PP
- Irina Katsnelson