NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - City officials today said they are still in the "very early stages" of planning for the construction of a public park on the location of the Wolfson parking deck and "there really isn't much that we're ready to talk about at this point."
But there is some news, as reported by NJ Biz, that the New Brunswick Development Corp. (DEVCO) has hired Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, an urban planning and redevelopment consultant. The firm is charged with determining a public-private partnership structure and conceptualize the programming of a new Neilson Street park to replace the deck.
Plans for the park first surfaced in 2014, as city and county officials grappled with how best to deal with the deck, the oldest of the New Brunswick Parking Authority's nine parking garages, located on Neilsen Street between New and George Streets. At the time, Middlesex County officials discussed plans for a small county "pocket park," the first county park in New Brunswick.
Dan Biederman, President of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures ( www.brvcorp.com ), said his firm will provide DEVCO a detailed set of recommendations related to the governance and will help establish a nonprofit organization to operate the new public space. BRV will also determine what major programmatic features are appropriate, such as a dog park or a children’s playground.
“New Brunswick lacks a signature downtown public space to complement the development that DEVCO and others have completed nearby in the last decade,” said Ben Donsky, Vice President of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, who attended graduate school a block away at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and knows the need for and value of a new park in the area. “The new park might be the final piece of the puzzle in transforming downtown New Brunswick into a full-service urban neighborhood.”
Biederman says he gained national attention in 1992 for his revitalization of New York’s Bryant Park, which he transformed from a crime-ridden, drug-filled, dangerous midtown Manhattan location, into a seven-acre jewel and quiet haven for New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy. Elsewhere in New Jersey, BRV oversaw the successful revival of Military Park in Newark, which it currently operates on behalf of the Military Park Partnership.
BRV works with real estate developers, government agencies, and non-profits to build and revitalize city parks, public spaces, streetscapes, and business improvement districts via public/private partnerships and corporate funding.
BRV has consulted on downtown redevelopment and management projects in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, and Pittsburgh and has worked on public spaces with some of the leading mixed-use developers in the United States, including The Related Companies, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Blackstone, Jamestown Properties, Vornado Realty Trust, Tishman-Speyer, and Hines.
BRV is currently working on public space and park projects in Boston, Newark, Buffalo, Honolulu, Green Bay, Houston, Los Angeles, and Stamford, CT.