Rutgers Cements $17 Million Role in New Brunswick’s Theater Redevelopment Project

Could this be what New Brunswick's downtown cultural district will look like in the future? Credits: Cultural Center Redevelopment Plan

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — For months, officials working on the New Brunswick Cultural Center redevelopment project said they were confident that Rutgers University would sign on in some way.

They were right. The university Board of Governors approved last week a resolution to pay $17 million in “membership interest” costs to support the downtown development project, which could result in the city’s tallest tower—a Livingston Avenue building that would feature two theaters, rehearsal spaces, offices and 250 rental apartments—and a nearby parking deck.

“It’s such an exciting thing that we are going to be a part of the downtown New Brunswick development-theater-cultural scene,” Dorothy Cantor, who sits on the board, said after the resolution’s approval.

Sign Up for E-News

The site of the proposed project is in the heart of New Brunswick, a location that makes it prime for use by Mason Gross and its small army of artists and performers.

The move enables Rutgers to pay its tab with debt issued by the university, according to the resolution.

The New Brunswick Development Corporation, better known as Devco, has taken the lead on the $215 million project.

In doing so, it created a subsidiary called Cultural Center Redevelopment Urban Renewal Associates. Rutgers and the New Brunswick Cultural Center are positioned to become members of that entity, according to the resolution.

They will then take control of 60,000 square feet of what will be called the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, in the form of a 98-year lease from the cultural center, according to the project summary. Devco will exit that agreement when a tax deal expires in 30 years, and Rutgers will be released after the full term of the lease.

The three-pronged group also plans to install Devco as the managing partner of an organization named NBPAC Management. That entity will maintain and operate the performing arts center.

Its members are slated to include Rutgers, Devco, the George Street Playhouse, the New Brunswick Cultural Center and the American Repertory Ballet, which is moving its headquarters to the Hub City.

When construction is complete, portions of the project will be owned by various groups, according to the resolution.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority will own the roughly 340-space parking garage off Bayard Street. Middlesex County will own the office space. The project’s residential developer, Pennrose Properties, will own the 250 market-rate and affordable rental units. The American Repertory Ballet will own the two theaters. And the Devco subsidiary will own the rehearsal and studio spaces.

In total, the 450,000-square-foot development is slated to consist of two theaters, one of which will hold 465 seats and the other 253.

The main stage would span 86 feet, accommodating all sorts of performances, and an orchestra pit that can hold up to 70 musicians, according to the project summary. A second stage would run 60 feet and “provide additional flexibility to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center to accommodate lecture, community and musical events,” according to the document.

Developers have repeatedly described the facilities as “state-of-the-art.”

As part of the Devco subsidiary, Rutgers would in part lay claim to the three rehearsal spaces and studios. They would support dance, drama and musical rehearsals, along with classes, workshops and small public shows, according to the project summary.

There also exists an option to build a standalone rehearsal space as part of the neighboring parking garage. That could include 2,200 square feet of studio space, dressing rooms and office space.

Devco and Pennrose plan to team up with the Actors Fund of America to market affordable apartments in the 22-story tower to graphic designers, musicians, dancers and other people involved with theater.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and completed by July 2019.

In its resolution, Rutgers described the cultural center redevelopment project as a move that would “transform New Brunswick’s downtown cultural arts district, ensuring that New Brunswick continues as a regional hub for the performing arts.”

The Devco subsidiary is expected to present plans for the project to the New Brunswick Planning Board at 7:30 p.m. tonight in City Hall.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick: I Don't Wanna Close Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

March 16, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002.  Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Middlesex County Young Republicans Host "Road to Victory" Event at the Green Turtle

March 21, 2018

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Middlesex County Young Republican Chairman John Steiner would like to announce the Middlesex County Young Republicans "Road to Victory" Reception, which will take place on March 22 at the Green Turtle in North Brunswick from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

This event will serve as the official launch for the 2018 campaign season for the Middlesex ...

ECSNJ Partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health Helps Students Manage Life’s Challenges

PISCATAWAY, NJ – A collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is providing more behavioral and emotional support for students attending two Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) schools.

Appearing on ESCNJ’s Better Together podcast, Assistant Superintendent Gary Molenaar said Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “is a recognized ...

Piscataway Libraries Host Annual NJ Makers Day Program

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Piscataway Public Libraries were once again hosts to dozens of “makers” for the 4th Annual NJ Makers Day celebration.

The Saturday events at the Kennedy and Westergard Libraries featured activities and demonstrations by members of the maker culture with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) initiatives.

Among other ...

NCAA Tournament: Heilmann and DelVecchio Both Secure All-American Honors; Suriano Becomes Rutgers' First-Ever Finalist

CLEVELAND, OH -The senior class of South Plainfield High School’s “Murderer’s Row”, the 2013 team that earned a group title, two individual state titles, and produced five state placewinners, knows a thing or two about making wrestling history. The 2018 NCAA wrestling tournament marks the last time two standouts from 2013 team, Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, will ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 5:30 PM

Piscataway High School, Piscataway

Going for the Gold Culinary Event

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


The Basics of Starting a Business

Business & Finance

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...