Redevelopment

Planning Board Approves Ambitious Plans for New Brunswick Cultural Center Redevelopment

2a748965d7321026d11c_nb_pb_cc_3.jpg
Devco's president, Christopher Paladino, reviews a rendering of New Brunswick's performing arts center this week in City Hall.
2a748965d7321026d11c_nb_pb_cc_3.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The city’s downtown performing arts center is one step closer to becoming reality.

The Planning Board approved the proposal for a mixed-use tower off Livingston Avenue and a corresponding Bayard Street parking deck at its meeting this week. While the New Brunswick Development Corporation, or Devco, has scaled down the scope of the project, officials believe it will ignite New Brunswick’s arts and theater scene, boosting business in the area.

“This is the most significant, broad-spectrum public-private partnership in the history of New Jersey,” Christopher Paladino, Devco’s president, said. “It may be the most important civic space ever built in the City of New Brunswick.”

Sign Up for E-News

Plans call for a 22-story building featuring 71,000 square feet of theater and rehearsal pace, 31,000 square feet of office space and 220,000 square feet—or 18 floors—of rental apartments priced at affordable and market rates, according to a document provided by Devco. A 344-space parking garage, which will include a street-level, windowed ballet rehearsal space, and additional on-site stalls are also slated to take root in the area.

The budget for the project totals $167.8 million, according to Devco.

The sleek, glass-windowed tower would house the George Street Playhouse and the Crossroads Theatre. Their current buildings, which sit on proposed building’s footprint, are scheduled to be demolished over the next few months.

It’d also bring the American Repertory Ballet to New Brunswick. What’s more, Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts is set to occupy a portion of the building following a $17 million commitment from the university.

Earlier plans for the performing arts center aimed for 25 stories, nearly 270 apartments and a $215 million budget. Paladino said his team downsized its vision due to functional and economic reasons.

“We feel it works better,” he said.

But the project calls for two “state-of-the-art” theaters with orchestra pits and rehearsal and studios, which the developer and its representatives said would compete with those on Broadway in New York City. Together, the theaters would include a total of roughly 700 seats, or 200 more than what currently exists, according to Devco.

Officials hope the extra room will enable another 220 performances per year. That, they said, could draw an additional 80,000 people to New Brunswick.

The two theaters would share a lobby, which would serve food and drinks.

“The intent is to bring people together,” architect David Manfredi said on behalf of Devco.

The residential portion of the building, meanwhile, would include 42 affordable units. Rents for them would range between $550 and $1,400, said Richard Barnhart, CEO of Pennrose, the property-management firm that would handle the apartments.

Project leaders said they hope to partner with the Actors Fund of America to ensure local artists, performers and support staffers take advantage of the affordable units.

Parking for the project exceeds the minimum amount required by city code, according to Devco’s experts. Two residents said the developer should reconsider adding so many spaces, a point that Planning Board members appreciated but isn’t often heard in New Brunswick.

A number of residents spoke during the meeting. Some praised Devco, the city and their many partners for their dedication to the arts in New Brunswick. But others expressed concerns about how the building will fit into the neighborhood.

They cited possible increases to traffic and winds, along with the potential for disturbing signage or lighting. Paladino and his team assured residents the project wouldn’t negatively affect its neighbors, although some residents remained skeptical.

“It’s a huge building,” a man named Patrick Clark said. “I’m not confident it’s compatible with surrounding land uses.”

Construction on the project is set to begin this summer and end in July 2019.

The project is expected to be financed through a number of means, including millions of dollars in tax credits from the state Economic Development Authority.

It has drawn attention from media and officials across New Jersey.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - May 22, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


MANVILLE - If marijuana becomes legal in New Jersey, here's another town where you won't be able to buy it: Manville. The mayor and council unanimously voted to prohibit any sale of weed - recreational and medicinal - within Manville's borders. The ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 21, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


STATEWIDE - Should public school students be allowed to attend schools in other towns? That's the big, controversial question in a lawsuit filed against the state that looks to end what some consider to be the worst school segregation in the nation. The ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 18, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

IN COURT - Sounds like a cheesy thing to do, but the NJ Turnpike Authority has gone to court for years trying to stop a pizzeria chain whose logo is suspiciously similar to our beloved Garden State Parkway sign. Sure, nobody wants drivers searching for an on-ramp to end ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 17, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

MOUNTAINSIDE - Oh, where to begin describing this 46-page lawsuit against two Mountainside cops? A detective sergeant placing his testicles on co-workers' food. And throwing poop-smeared toilet tissue at them. And defecating in someone's boots. And taunting with a dildo dubbed "Big Blue" he liked to wave in cops' faces, as he chased ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ATLANTIC CITY - Happy days are here again, as the state's once gasping gaming resort is expecting sports betting will rake in $150 million to $175 million a year in new, glorious profits - courtesy of your pals on the U.S. Supreme Court. Moreover, ecstatic Stockton University officials believe, this recharged gambling mecca will bring in a whole new ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 15, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - This. Changes. Everything. Legal sports betting is finally taking its rightful place in New Jersey, with the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out this dumb federal ban that has lasted for more than 25 years and has cost New Jersey billions of dollars in wasted opportunity. Places like the Atlantic City casinos and the racetracks will suddenly ...

Rutgers Athletics Signs Dyehard Fan Supply to New Multi-Year Agreement

May 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Rutgers Athletics has selected Dyehard Fan Supply, an event and retail merchandise marketing and e-commerce company, as the official merchandising partner for the Scarlet Knights in a new multi-year agreement.Dyehard will handle game day and event merchandising for Rutgers Athletics.

“We’re excited to expand gameday merchandising options and elevate ...

Newark man given 22-year sentence for kidnapping, sexual asault of Rutgers student

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Newark man was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for the 2016 kidnapping and sexual assault of a Rutgers University student on the school campus in New Brunswick.

Michael Knight, 40, of Newark must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement today.

Superior Court Judge ...

Rutgers center battles noise pollution nationwide

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  - Eric Zwerling got a call this week from a man was living next to a fitness center, complaining he repeatedly heard the loud thud heavy free weights and medicine balls hit the floor.

The man was recovering from having a pace maker in his chest and wondering of the impact of the noise from the gym.

“I’ve received thousands of calls,” said Zwerling, ...

Police Investigate Rabbit "Tale"

May 11, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Local cops are investigating an incident of ‘theft by deception’ involving the Plainfield Animal Hospital. 

According to the incident report filed by Officer Justin Melanson and obtained by TAPinto, residents of South Plainfield took their pet rabbit to the Park Avenue animal hospital on April 4 to be euthanized due to advanced ...

OPINION

Here's How to Help Protect Young Athletes from Injury: Let Them Play Multiple Sports

May 1, 2018

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick:

One of the responsibilities that parents take most seriously is protecting their children from injury, whether it is buckling seat belts in a car or wearing a helmet while riding a bike. And when their kids become teenagers and want to participate in sports or other activities, parents do everything they can to keep their sons and daughters from getting ...

"Itʼs Time for New Leadership" Say Middlesex County Republicans

May 22, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ  - On Tuesday, June 12th, elected county committee members of the Middlesex County Republican Organization will have a choice on who will be their next County Chair and party executive board.

Sharon D. Hubberman, former Middlesex County Freeholder Candidate, and current Perth Amboy Republican Chair has announced she will accept her nomination for the ...