County Cleaning Up Contamination at Former Ferren Site


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Workers began cleaning up the former site of the Ferren Mall and parking deck this week near downtown New Brunswick, according to Middlesex County.

The move represents yet another step toward the property's future. While which tenants and what exactly will occupy the site remain unclear, it's poised to harbor high-rise towers featuring office, research, residential and retail space, officials have said. The project is called The Hub @ New Brunswick Station.

Late last year, crews began demolishing the old Ferren Mall and parking deck. The structure stood there for decades. But only once it came down could the county rid the property of longstanding pollutants, officials told TAPinto New Brunswick.

Sign Up for E-News

Middlesex County has taken responsibility for cleaning the site. That's because an oil tank that served the county's old administration building in the 1980s caused the mess, officials have said.

Indeed, contaminants on the Ferren site are a type of fuel oil known as light non-aqueous phase liquids, a county official who declined to be identified by name told TAPinto New Brunswick. Such contaminants typically float atop groundwater, according to online posts.

The county has begun to remove groundwater and the soil stockpile, which were exposed after the parking deck came down, county officials said.

In 2015, Middlesex tapped a licensed site remediation professional to create and launch a cleanup plan for the property, according to the county.

Environmental experts inspected the site before the parking deck came down, Christopher Paladino, head of the New Brunswick Development Corporation, or Devco, which is marketing the site, said last year. But now the county's cleanup experts must investigate the scope of underground contamination, county officials said.

“Now that the Ferren Deck has been removed and the site is accessible, the remedial investigation will establish the limits of contamination,” a county official said.

From there, the county will finalize its plans for restoring the site. Until those details are set in stone, however, the county declined to estimate how much the cleanup could cost.

How long it will take to refurbish the site is also unclear. But Mitchell Karon, executive director of the New Brunswick Parking Authority, which is a major stakeholder in the redevelopment project, said work could come to a halt by the end of September.

Once the cleanup is done, the environmental expert will install monitoring wells to keep tabs on conditions at the site, officials said.

Devco and the parking authority have yet to release a construction timeline for The Hub @ New Brunswick Station. It depends, Karon said, on when Devco finds major tenants for the development.

“It's not imminent,” he said.

A different sort of change might soon sprout on the property. When the county completes its cleanup, the parking authority hopes to install meters at a surface lot on the site and open it to the public, Karon said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - March 16, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Another commuting mess this morning, as the antiquated Portal Bridge got stuck in the "up" position at 4:22 a.m.  That caused a bunch of rush hour trains to be cancelled between Newark and Manhattan for four hours or so.  Both NJTransit and Amtrak riders were completely screwed. You may recall the proposed Gateway ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 15, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - When you rent out apartments to Rutgers students, expect some surprises. But one landlord received a shocker beyond expectation: a $8,117.07 water bill for the last three months of 2017, TAPInto New Brunswick reports. The landlord went to the City Council meeting this week, pleading that the bill on his Comstock Street ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 14, 2018


TRENTON - Ever since we met Gov. Phil Murphy, he has been talking about the same stuff: higher taxes for the rich, saving NJ Transit, legalizing marijuana, giving more money to public schools and a higher minimum wage. So, when lawmakers went to Trenton yesterday to hear the rookie governor's first budget message, there weren't a lot of ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 13, 2018


TRENTON - As Gov. Phil Murphy prepares to deliver his first budget address at 2 p.m. today, at the State House, observers will be curious if his proposals jive with the state's pension mess. Look for the governor to talk about campaign topics like equal pay, health care, climate change, immigration and offshore drilling, as well as the proposed ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 12, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - If you want to succeed in New Jersey, you need to figure out, to some degree, what all these millennials are thinking.  New Jersey Future tried to get to the answer, during a recent day-long event in New Brunswick that NJ Spotlight covered.  Bottom line? Our millennials are fleeing and that is bad. We need them to buy ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 9, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Not only is President Trump against the Gateway Tunnel, it seems he is ready to shut down the entire federal government if any money is budgeted for the desperately-needed infrastructure project. The word from Washington is that Trump is ready to scorch the Earth if Gateway gets just one sawbuck from Uncle Sam. Of course, this dispels all ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

RU police investigate assault on Douglass campus

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University police are investigating an aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault  reported to March 14 at 3:55 a.m. in front of Hickman Hall on the Douglass campus.


The victim, not affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that she was walking with a male whom she did not know in the area of Commercial Avenue and George ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Latino, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Jazz music, even Yoga and skating, celebrated in city

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – Music, cultures and lifestyles will be celebrated in the city all year, with festivals and special events scheduled for weekends from April through October, including the city’s first day to highlight yoga.

City council members this week approved permits for nine events, starting with the traditional Rutgers Day Parade on April 28, which will start on Senior Place ...


This National Literacy Month, Let's Rein In Screen Time

March 13, 2018

Dear Editor: As speech-language pathologists across New Jersey prepare to mark “National March into Literacy Month,” let’s address the alarming number of young children who spend countless hours a day on a handheld screen.

According to a study from the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, the more time that children under two years spend on smartphones, tablets and ...

New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters Clinches Gold Certification

March 16, 2018

NEWARK - The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is proud to announce that the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters has once again received Gold Certification – awarded to the strongest chapters in the nation.

NJAHU achieved Gold Certification from national headquarters underscoring how well the organization has operated and achieved its lofty goals in the ...