NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Lincoln Annex School has been transferred from the Board of Education to the private nonprofit urban real estate development company responsible for creating the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, the high school and many other projects around the city.
The sale to the New Brunswick Development Corporation marks a pivotal step forward in the construction of the state’s first free-standing cancer hospital.
The deed was submitted electronically to the Middlesex County Clerk’s office on Friday, according to Chris Paladino, President of DEVCO, which was designated as the developer of the hospital by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority in August.
Cancer Pavilion Redevelopment Associates LLC, a DEVCO affiliate, will be seeking final site plan approval to construct the 11-story, 520,000 square foot Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Cancer Pavilion at Monday’s Planning Board meeting.
The plan to raze the 61-year-old, faded-beige brick school and build a state-of-the-art hospital at 165 Somerset Street was unveiled in February by Paladino, New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill and Senior Vice President of RWJ/Barnabas Health Dr. Steven Libutti at a news conference in DEVCO’s offices.
As part of the $750 million project, a replacement school will be built at 50 Jersey Avenue.
An escrow account with $55 million to build the replacement school has been set up for the board of education, according to a board official.
Libutti said RWJBarnabas Health envisions a facility that will be one of the top 10, if not top five, cancer treatment and research facilities in the country.
The plan is to create 84 infusion bays and 74 exam rooms for outpatient care and 96 beds and a dedicated floor for surgical procedures for inpatient care. It will be connected to the Cancer Institute and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital by two sky bridges spanning Somerset Street.
“This is the next step in building a state-of-the-art facility that will not only be an important part of the health care puzzle for New Brunswick and Central New Jersey, but the entire state,” Paladino told TAPinto New Brunswick. “And it's going to allow us to build a brand new, state-of-the-art school in the neighborhood for schoolchildren of New Brunswick at no cost to the taxpayers at a time when there is no additional money coming from the state level for urban education. So, it is a win-win.”
Paladino said that the first step in the school’s demolition will be to remove Asbestos from the building. Then, the building could be razed within weeks.
It is estimated that 1,000 construction jobs will be created as a result of the building of the Cancer Pavilion. Once built, officials said about 600 people will be permanently employed there.
The pavilion’s research facilities and classrooms will serve as valuable educational opportunities for students at Rutgers, Middlesex County College and the county’s vocational schools, officials said.
The restrictions that were placed on the deed when the Diocese of Metuchen at the time of the 2013 sale have been lifted, officials said. The Diocese sold the old St. Peter’s school for $7.4 million. The New Brunswick Board of Education spent about $20 million to refurbish the school before it opened in 2016.
The plan calls for the students to attend the Pathways Campus on Van Dyke Avenue while the new school is constructed.