Ferren Redevelopment Moves Ahead

The New Brunswick Train Station sits beyond the former site of the Ferren Mall and parking deck.
An artist's rendering of what "The Hub @ New Brunswick Station" could look like. Credits: Devco

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Most of the Ferren Mall and parking deck is no more.

The spot where the parking deck stood since the 1950s now is a sprawling wasteland of concrete and refuse. Demolition began last year and is expected to end this spring, opening a long-hidden line of sight between downtown and the train station.

The Albany Street site is bordered by fences with signs advertising space for rent in The Hub @ New Brunswick Station, the name of the hulking redevelopment project. Tentative plans call for restaurants and retail, office and research space and apartments to be housed in as many as four towers, with a privately-operated public square similar to The Yard on College Avenue.

Sign Up for E-News

“One of the really great features of this plan is the way it creates open space downtown and makes downtown pedestrian-friendly,” Jeffrey Crum, chair of the New Brunswick Planning Board, said this week.

But before plans move forward, some questions must be answered. Among them is how to deal with traffic and circulation around the proposed transit village, an uncertainty mulled over on Monday night by Crum and the board.

Glenn Patterson, the city’s director of planning, community and economic development, proposed several measures that could improve the overall flow of traffic in downtown New Brunswick through this project. By the meeting’s end, the panel voted to accept Patterson’s traffic circulation ideas.

He spoke before the board about proposed revisions to the redevelopment plan for the Ferren project. The board previously recommended one such document for approval last year, but it was ultimately tabled once New Brunswick City Council members raised concerns about traffic.

The revamped redevelopment plan calls for Spring Street, which is now one-way, to be widened and turned into a two-way road, Patterson said.

That would create a traditional four-way intersection at its convergence with Albany Street and Easton Avenue.

“This provides a greater number of movements that you can make, and I think it’d benefit the circulation downtown,” Patterson told the board. “We think that would be beneficial.”

If no changes are made, getting from the area around George Street to Easton Avenue would be rather difficult, he said.

The redevelopment plan is a city-produced document that serves as a roadmap for what’s to come. Rather than set in stone what will be developed on the site, it provides certain benchmarks and limitations to potential developers.

With that in mind, Patterson also said traffic issues near the site could be alleviated by a rotary traffic circle. But that wasn’t the planner’s first choice.

“Getting a large volume of pedestrians through would be tough,” he said.

Under the terms of the revised redevelopment plan, a portion of Church Street would likely remain closed. Early plans called for the vacation of the road, between Kirkpatrick and Spring streets, which has been barricaded since demolition work began.

But the document also sets a timeline for would-be developers to move on the project.

Once a redeveloper for the Ferren site is approved, that entity would have 18 months to jump into action. If plans appear stalled after that stretch of time, the company would be required to reopen the defunct section of Church Street.

If no redeveloper is selected in 18 months from now, the New Brunswick Parking Authority—which owns the Ferren property—would need to revert Church to a functioning street, as well, Patterson said.

While the Planning Board approved the document, it must still go before the City Council. Eventually, a redeveloper will need to present a concrete proposal, complete with a traffic study, to the city for review.

Several members of the public spoke during this week’s Planning Board meeting.

They urged board members to work to add bus shelters near the Ferren site and ensure that a public space is approved for the site. One person suggested the city work to improve options for bicyclists in the area.

Some questioned how the buildings might affect how sunlight touches nearby buildings and their residents’ views. Patterson said designs regulated by the redevelopment plan would lessen the impact of the structures.

Another person asked the board to reconsider whether buildings along Paterson Street need to be included in the redevelopment project.

Under the plan, several privately-owned buildings would need to be acquired for the development to go forward. That could affect the popular restaurant Clydz, several offices and a barbershop called Onyx.

If the owners of those buildings refused to sell, it could jeopardize the project or reduce its scope, Patterson said.

He also said the city would help relocate those businesses.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - June 22, 2018

TRENTON - Well, the state Legislature passed a budget yesterday. But that matters little in the overall drama, as it now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy and his sharp red pen. The governor still remains as odds with his Democratic counterparts who left a meeting with him yesterday claiming no progress. He's "completely dishonest with us," charges Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The Jaffe Briefing - June 21, 2018

TRENTON - No one questions that the state pension system is a mess. And that's why some proposed legislation is getting a critical eye. Politico says the Assembly is set to vote on a bill today that it claims is "expressly written" to fatten the pensions of Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and state Sen. James Beach (D-Camden) without them having to ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 20, 2018

STATEWIDE - What? So you are saying the state's pawn shops, second-hand stores and scrap metal yards are mob-infested? How could that possibly be? Well, just ask the scrappy State Commission of Investigation, which issued the 100-page report yesterday detailing how the mob is encouraging drug addicts to steal items to fuel this in-the-dark industry. Not only are these ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 19, 2018

TRENTON - It is June. That must mean our state lawmakers are yelling at each other over the proposed state budget, which must be adopted by the end of the month or government shuts down. Some media is refraining from coverage of the daily blow-by-blow, as the typical resident just assumes taxes will go up, no matter what. But, here is the latest. Gov. Phil Murphy has his proposed ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 18, 2018

DOWN THE SHORE - If you see all those mega-mansions on the beach, and admit to being just a wee bit jealous, here's something to quietly smile about: All of those glorious homes will likely be underwater.  NJ Spotlight reports rising sea levels make the New Jersey coast particularly vulnerable, with the Garden State ranking second to Florida with the biggest chronic risk ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 15, 2018

JERSEY CITY - Should topless women be allowed in the city?  That's the big issue consuming the City Council these days, as members continue to debate 1980s-era obscenity laws. There was supposed to be a vote at the council meeting on Wednesday, but it didn't happen. Before there is a vote, it appears the goal is to wrangle support of all nine members of the City Council. The nagging ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, June 23, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Rutgers-led “Tick Blitz” finds exotic Longhorned Ticks statewide

June 5, 2018

New Brunswick, N.J. - Researchers at  University–New Brunswick’s Rutgers Center for Vector Biology have found exotic longhorned ticks in four New Jersey counties – and confirmed that these northeast Asian ticks have been present in the Garden State since at least 2013.

The new detection of these ticks in Mercer County was made through the first-ever statewide ...

Rutgers football stadium has a new name

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Many still call it Rutgers Stadium.

But for seven years, the university's football stadium has been known as High Point Solutions Stadium, thanks to a $600,000 annual agreement with a Sparta-based company. But, as the company has shifted its marketing, so has the stadium's name.

So, now, Rutgers is officially home to "HighPoint.com Stadium" for the 2018 ...

Composer lyrisicist Sondheim at Rutgers, tells would-be writers ‘it’s hard work’

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Acclaimed Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim says his work is less about talent and more about the labor and drudgery of “hard work.”

“It’s not about waiting for inspiration. It’s not about talent,” Sondheim said Friday while speaking before an audience at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center.

“You ...

City recognizes New Brunswick ball player inducted into women’s Hall of Fame

June 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  - Chris Dailey grew up in the city, and played basketball for St. Peter's High School and  Rutgers University, and was on the team that won a national AIAW championship her senior year in college.

She became an assistant coach at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., then was an assistant to Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz before becoming an assistant coach on ...


New Brunswick journalism teacher offers thanks

June 22, 2018

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick,

As the year comes to a close, I want to offer you my sincere thanks for how you positively impacted my students this year.

In their end of year reflections, the students recounted what it meant for them to get their stories published.  Assignments were no longer something just connected to a grade, it was also connected to their passion.

The positive ...

Promise Culinary School Slates Open Houses June 21 and 22 In New Brunswick with Tours, Tastings, Prizes

June 20, 2018

Promise Culinary School will host open houses for the community and prospective students on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at 211 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. The events are free and open to the public.

The events will include kitchen tours, demonstrations, tastings, raffles and prizes. Tours and activities will be ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...