NEW BRUNSWICK – State and city officials on Monday unveiled plans for a “hub” for research in the fields of technology and health care services to stretch over 12 acres.
Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University, said the "Innovation and Technology Hub,” which is in the planning stages, would include construction of 2 million to 4 million square feet of space in buildings to be constructed in New Brunswick, known as “the Hub City.”
Representatives from the university, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Johnson & Johnson, state economic development agencies and labor organizations joined in the announcement for the ambitious project.
“This is an opportunity in the private sector,” Murphy said of the possibilities for start-up companies to develop. He said venture capital, or private investment in new business, has decreased in New Jersey while it has increased in other states.
Calling this a long range effort, Murphy and others offered few details about what businesses would be included in the project or how much the redevelopment effort would cost.
“This is not a ribbon cutting. This is a first step in a journey that is going to take a long time,” the governor said.
New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill, who attended the meeting, said the city had a four-acre tract, on the site of the former Ferren Parking Deck awaiting a development plan, and another 12 acres immediately to the south, going to French Street, targeted for redevelopment.
“There’s four acres that are shovel-ready,” Cahill said, indicating that the site where the parking deck once stood is ready for construction. The parking deck was demolished last year. Cahill said that tract, between Route 27 and Paterson Street, sits directly across the street from the city train station that could bring workers to the offices.
Rutgers University President Robert Barchi said he and other Rutgers officials had discussed creation of a technology center for five years, involving the university, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, among others.
Barchi credited Murphy for bringing state agencies in to support the plan.
Other elected state officials participated in the announcement for the project, including Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who represents the 19th legislative district in northern Middlesex County.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful economic driver. I look forward to coming up with the legislative scheme to support this,” Coughlin said.
Murphy, when asked about funding for the project, said he anticipated a broad range of investment from industry in the state, and said he hopes New Jersey would also receive federal funds.