NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Ask most people about last winter and the likely answer would be a recollection of late season storms. But the mild February and short-lasting March storms were certainly good for construction work in the Hub City.

The weather allowed work to proceed on the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, a $172 million project begun last October. Any visitor to the city will quickly notice the massive construction, in the heart of the bustling downtown.

“We had a good winter,” said Christopher Paladino, executive director of the New Brunswick Development Corp, or DevCo. “We’ve actually started to put the glass footings in. It’s got a beautiful glass exterior,” Paladino said.

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DevCo is overseeing the construction of the 450,000 square-foot building that will be home to the Crossroads Theatre, George Street Playhouse and the American Repertory Ballet. There will also be a group from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Steel beams were installed for construction of the 23-story tower and the theater space. Each stage of the project has been carefully chronicled by Paladino, who is eager to post photographs of each project stage on his Facebook page.

Lyric Theatre will be the larger of two venues in the building, with seating for 462 people to view an 86-foot stage with an orchestra pit. Next door, the playhouse will have a 252-seat theater with a 60-foot stage.

Penrose LLC, a private company, will own 207 luxury apartments in the tower. Middlesex County will own 30,000 square-feet of office space on two floors that will be available to rent.

Along with DevCo, Rutgers, the county and the city, other partners in the project include the New Brunswick Parking Authority and the state  Economic Development Authority.

The parking authority has issued $23 million in bonds for the project, and the city approved an $18.5 million tax abatement.

Work is slated to be completed in August 2019.