NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Ferren mall and a public parking deck that served the downtown since the 1950s is being demolished beginning November 1, as city officials consider redevelopment at the property off Albany Street, as well as surrounding streets.

The structures, which have been closed for years and have become an eyesore, will be demolished over a five-month period.

The city has developed a redevelopment plan for the four-acre site, which was released over the summer. Read it here. City officials are now examining traffic implications of such a plan, which could potentially bring $1 billion in investment to the downtown.

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Ferren Mall was built in 1983, as part of early efforts to redevelop the city’s downtown. The mall has been vacant for the past two years; it was most recently home to such businesses as Bon Chon chicken, a Cups yogurt shop and Geetaz salon.

Meanwhile, city officials and the New Brunswick Parking Authority have worked on a redevelopment plan. High-density, mixed-use development has been the recommended way to go.

During demolition. Church Street between Spring St. and Kirkpatrick Street will be closed, as well as portions of Spring Street for certain periods. City officials say the closures are necessary for public safety.

New Brunswick officials see the redeveloped area as prime real estate, noting it is just across the street from the train station, as well as near such major institutions such as Johnson & Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Rutgers University and county government.

On the site, city officials have envisioned a mix of retail, professional and residential spaces in line the city’s designation as a transit village.