Cultural Center Parking Lot to Close as Demolition Nears

A sign blocks the entrance to the Cultural Center parking lot on Bayard Street.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — And so it begins.

The Cultural Center parking lot on Bayard Street is scheduled to permanently close around June 5, making way for the demolition of the Crossroads Theatre and the George Street Playhouse, according to the New Brunswick Parking Authority.

“That’s a tentative date,” the agency’s executive director, Mitchell Karon, said this evening, during the Board of Commissioners’ May 24 meeting. “It could be a week later, but it’s around that time.”

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The move represents one of the first physical steps in the progression of the Cultural Center redevelopment project. The undertaking is geared to produce a 22-story skyscraper featuring two theaters, rehearsal spaces, offices and more than 200 apartment units on Livingston Avenue.

The parking authority also plans to spend $23 million on a 340-space garage on the site of the Cultural Center lot. A covered path would connect that structure to the performing arts center.

Officials with the redeveloper for the project, the New Brunswick Development Corporation, or Devco, have said construction would be completed by July 2019.

Both the Crossroads Theatre and the George Street Playhouse would take up residence in the new performing arts center.

Until then, the George Street Playhouse plans to hold its performances for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons in the building that once housed the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, 103 College Farm Rd., according to the theater company.

The Crossroads Theatre, meanwhile, intends to take its act on the road during construction.

Demolition work on the two Livingston Avenue buildings is expected to begin this summer.

The shuttering of the Cultural Center parking lot means visitors and commuters will need to instead use one of the parking authority’s nearby garages. For information on where to find another parking area, click here.

The lot is closed to drivers this week, through Friday, May 26, according to the parking authority.

“I understand George Street Playhouse is moving out, so they needed the lot open so they could get their moving vans in there,” Karon said.

In a separate move, the authority plans to reopen a small parking area known as the Ferren Lot on Paterson Street, near the site of the former Ferren Mall and parking deck, Karon said.

Crews spent the winter razing that structure to make room for a redevelopment project called The Hub @ New Brunswick Station. The project is expected to yield mixed-used towers, an outdoor public area and a new parking deck, officials have said.

“Once the demolition work is done over there, we’ll put a multi-space meter back in there and open that up for public parking while we are able to,” Karon said of the neighboring parking area.

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