In New Brunswick, a Developer Builds Where Some Have Not

The lobby of 15 Maple St. Credits: Premier Properties
Today was move-in day at 15 Maple St., a new apartment building a few blocks south of Louis Street, off Somerset Street. Credits: Premier Properties
Inside one of the apartments. Credits: Premier Properties

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Driving south on Somerset Street, the city comes to look a bit worn. By the time you pass Louis Street, the downtown's luxury skyscrapers are firmly in the rear view, and the typical college-student housing stock, aged in its own right, thins out.

Instead, as in other parts of this city, you're more likely to find big, multifamily houses—that actually house families, not flocks of students—charming corner stores and neighborhood restaurants and churches. It's a hard-working place where rents are relatively affordable.

Yet this neighborhood isn't far from much of anything, at least as far as New Brunswick landmarks go. And it's not noticeably dangerous. For whatever reason, though, downtown developers have mostly ignored this area.

Sign Up for E-News

But that's beginning to change.

Shortly after 11 a.m. today, Aug. 31, 15 Maple St. was buzzing. It was move-in day at a brand-new, 16-unit apartment building owned by Premier Properties, a developer that has built similar projects, along with some bigger ones, throughout the city.

“Just because this is not so close to the campus doesn't mean this neighborhood is not entitled to new, quality, safe housing,” Mitchell Broder, Premier's president, told TAPinto New Brunswick.

As workers hauled furniture into the building's common areas, incoming tenants brought their items into their new homes.

Some were people who already lived nearby, including parishioners of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, which used to own the property. Others settled in New Brunswick as a bedroom community, away from their New York City jobs.

The building houses just two groups of Rutgers University students, Broder said. In the hallway, one of their mothers walked by, helping the young men move in.

“The kids are very excited,” she said. “They have a nicer place than I had.”

Each unit includes stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, designer light fixtures, ceiling fans in each room, upgraded moldings, solid-wood cabinets with soft-close drawers, closet space and in-room, on-demand water heaters, according to Premier Properties.

Common space, meanwhile, boasts a bike-storage room, a 23-space garage, a gym with a few machines and weights, an outdoor patio area with tables, laundry and garbage on the two residential floors and an elevator.

“The idea is, if you provide a quality product at a fair price, the market will be very receptive to that,” Broder said. “So we do.”

The distance from New Brunswick's hottest area does indeed mean a price break. A two-bedroom apartment, for example, costs about $1,600 a month. Other developers looking to build new structures downtown have posed that same price as a ballpark rate for a one-bedroom unit.

A one-bedroom here, meanwhile, runs $1,300, and a three-bedroom goes for $1,800, Broder said.

Broder and his company have found that “big-bang” development projects aren't the only ones to make money in this city. The Maple Street building was already fully leased by move-in day, he said. He has also constructed similar units in similar locations.

In the end, he said, steps like this one improve New Brunswick in areas that don't typically make headlines, often providing new housing to people who already live there.

“We don't target any one area in New Brunswick,” Broder said. “We're very bullish on the whole city.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

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 ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 14, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD - The typical sports fan in New Jersey has until 2026 to get excited about professional soccer. That's because the Meadowlands could be the epicenter of the soccer world, a contender to host the World Cup. It could be  an amazing coup for New Jersey, although expect worldwide marketers to try to convince everyone that the big game would be played in "New ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 8:00 PM

New Brunswick

Sing-a-Long Grease: 40th Anniversary


Sat, June 23, 7:00 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 " 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 ...

Couple netted $8M from fake Uggs, designer bags, prosecutor says

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Plainsboro couple could face charges of of selling counterfeit designer shoes and handbags, netting $8 million and sending $3 million to people in China, authorities said today.

Yan Shi, 36, and her husband, Weiping Liu, 40, were arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree money laundering and second-degree conspiracy to violate the New Jersey Trademark ...


Hearing Loss Common in School-Aged Children

May 30, 2018

With close to 15% of U.S. children ages 6–19 experiencing hearing loss, New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) notes that May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

“Some children are born ...

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 ...