NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation said it was “a big milestone” when Board of Education voted last week to transfer the Lincoln Annex School.
Chris Paladino said vote clears the way for DEVCO to raze the school on Somerset Street and begin construction on the state’s first free-standing cancer hospital in the fall.
The board voted on April 28 to move ahead with the plan – on the guidance of a steering committee consisting of parents, community leaders, teachers and others - that will result in DEVCO building a three-story, $55 million replacement school at 50 Jersey Ave.
“We now have an exchange agreement that's conditioned upon a variety of things actually occurring that are the normal course of the development process,” Paladino told TAPinto New Brunswick last week. “But the board gave the approval to do all the final filings with the state Department of Education, and they have an agreement with us.
“So, we now are off and running with the school board staff and with the committee of parents and community leaders to design a school. So, we're going start the schematic design process.”
The next major milestone for this $750 million project, which is being paid for by massive hospital chain RWJBarnabas Health, is to procure the land at 50 Jersey Ave.
The land is owned by Jack Morris' Edgewood Properties in Piscataway. He is a prominent developer in New Brunswick and beyond.
“Mr. Morris has agreed to make the property available and we will work on the details of the acquisition,” Paladino said.
That means the 4.5 square acres of land that had been earmarked for a mixed-use development could be repurposed for the replacement school.
Morris has teamed with other private and public developers on projects across the country, according to an NJBIZ story. He partnered with another developer to turn Garden State Racetrack in Cherry Hill into a mixed-use community with about 1,700 residential units, more than 1.2 million square feet of retail space and a state-of-the-art lifestyle center.
Morris and partners also acquired the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and turned it into one of the largest hotel-casinos in the city.
Morris also serves on the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Board of Directors, according to its website.
He did not return several messages left for him by TAPinto New Brunswick.