The Hub @ New Brunswick Station

Construction in Our Urban Centers

The “driving factor” might after all be – “not driving.”

“Location, location, location” is the mantra of many urban dwellers – and why not? Major cities have unparalleled access to quality residential living space in close proximity to a plethora of commercial business centers boasting a host of job opportunities, a multitude of mass transit options, and second-to-none cultural amenities, such as museums, concert and sports team venues. In addition, a nearby walk yields retail and professional offices/services as well as gastronomic indulgences ranging from fine dining to barista-staffed coffee shops, to name a few perks.


“Newark’s location has been central to its proud history for more than 350 years, but we know from experience that location alone is not enough to make a city successful,” says Chip Hallock, president & CEO of the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP).

Hallock comments that, “Newark checks all of the boxes for today’s strong and vibrant cities.” In addition to the aforementioned accolades, he points to nearby access to Newark Liberty International Airport, access to all major highways, being home to the East Coast’s busiest seaport complex, and bragging rights to the worlds-fastest internet; as well as a highly-talented workforce, including a higher education community of more than 50,000 people adding to the already expanding population. For this reason, it is no surprise that the residential building business, is in a word, “booming!”

“There are literally thousands of residential units under construction and in the pipeline,” says Aisha Glover, president & CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark CEDC).

These projects include the recently completed Hahne & Co. redevelopment, consisting of 160 residential units, of which 40 percent are income restricted. This mixed-use site also includes Whole Foods, PetCo, and Barnes & Noble, to name a few establishments.

It is important to note that in many of these cases, “rebuilding and adapting existing structures to new uses and new lives is a complex undertaking, underpinned by existing conditions on one side, and the radically evolving needs of modern users on the other,” states William Kimmerle, AIA, NCARB, a principal of Kimmerle Group, Harding, and its counterpart Kimmerle’s Urban Design & Planning Studio, New York, NY.

Currently under construction in Newark are numerous new and adaptive reuse residential projects, including One Theater Square (245 units), One Riverview (169 units) and the NJ Bell Building (263 units). In the Ironbound section, additional projects are Textile Lofts (67 units) and Monroe Lofts (54 units). The South Ward also has an exciting project being led by Newark CEDC at 505 Clinton Avenue, consisting of 27 affordable units designed to anchor an emerging artists’ enclave there.

“Whether buildings were built a century ago or only decades in the past, they present conditions and constraints which can challenge current programs,” Kimmerle notes. “As trends in residential and commercial uses are dramatically evolving from the times in which older structures were built, the incorporation of elements like sunlit interior spaces, outdoor amenities, and flexible open plans can prove to be difficult, but are an absolute worthwhile undertaking.”

Another significant mixed-use development project underway in Newark is Riverfront Square at the site of the former Newark Bears Stadium. Being handled by Lotus Equity Group, LLC, The Bears Stadium site is comprised of approximately 7.65 acres and calls for the development of approximately 2.3 million square feet of residential, office, retail and cultural space. Included in this is an 11-story, 500,000-square-foot timber tower. The new development will be less than 500 feet from the NJ Transit Broad Street station from which Midtown Manhattan may be reached in less than 20 minutes.

Large numbers of residential units have and continue to be in demand in Newark, with that demand likely to increase now that the city has been named to the “short list” of potential destinations by Amazon, the world-renowned e-commerce powerhouse. The list is comprised of 20 finalists, which are pretty good odds for Newark considering that number was condensed from some 238 proposals Amazon received from cities across the nation. It is expected that the opportunity for 50,000 jobs being added to the rolls would come along with that possible relocation.

“For years, New Jersey’s urban centers have been trying to find those big-impact development projects that serve as catalysts for economic growth,” says Erik Sletteland, vice president of client services, at Structure Tone’s Woodbridge office. “While the ripple effect of development didn’t always take off as planned, what we’re seeing is the culmination of these efforts now reaching a tipping point.”

Sletteland is referring directly to the accumulation of ongoing investments for many years, along with state tax credits, incentives and other initiatives that have focused on urban cities like Newark, New Brunswick and Camden, which are now having a more than drastic impact.

“Currently, residential and commercial projects are underway in rapid succession and we at Structure Tone have been fortunate to be involved in some of those projects that have kept large businesses in these cities, like Prudential, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Marriott Courtyard in Newark, John Wiley and Sons in Hoboken, Fidessa in Jersey City, and American Water in Camden,” Sletteland states.

“Local hiring is also a big focus of Newark CEDC’s mission,” Aisha Glover says. “Of course, we work on attracting the next Amazon and Mars to the downtown and help developers move large-scale projects forward, but we also work with local entrepreneurs and existing small businesses.

“We welcome new residents to our city, but we also need to ensure that local residents currently living in Newark will be able to afford to reside in their neighborhoods in the future. This reasoning is why Mayor Ras J. Baraka has enacted an inclusionary zoning ordinance and increased local hiring goals and programs,” she adds.

Jersey City

Gentrification concerns are always a forefront topic in conversation when it comes to urban development in both commercial and residential sectors. In nearby Jersey City, often referred to as NYC’s “sixth borough,” Deputy Mayor Marcos D. Vigil states that when it comes to the city’s ongoing redevelopment, “the focus of Jersey City’s current administration continues to be inclusive of affordable housing options. Projects can’t only be approached from a cost-benefit analysis.”

That said, Deputy Mayor Vigil, who also heads Jersey City’s Dept. of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, is quick to point out, “There are several projects that continue to flourish and ‘drive’ interest in our city.”

A shining example of these projects is SciTech Scity. It has been announced that Ernst & Young LLP (EY) has joined forces with Liberty Science Center (LSC), one of the world’s leading educational centers of technology and science, to become a founding sponsor of SciTech Scity and a “driver” of science and technology startup activity in the region.

SciTech Scity is an ambitious and transformative project planned for the 14-acre site donated to LSC by Jersey City for development. SciTech Scity is a unique endeavor and aims to build a campus (or “mini-city”) for people and companies who come together to invent the future.

LSC now houses the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and is the most visited interactive science center in the tri-state area. Complementing LSC’s existing 300,000 square-foot facility, SciTech Scity will have three additional pillars: the Liberty Science K-12 School, which will bring cutting-edge science and technology education to Jersey City; Edge Works, a complete re-imagination of today’s workplace with more than 80,000 square feet of research labs, private studios, open workspaces, and a conference center; and Scholars Village, a purposeful mix of student housing for graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and longer-term residences for entrepreneurs, scientists, and families.

Paul Hoffman, president and CEO of LSC, notes, “We’ve had a tremendous partnership with Ernst & Young for the past four years. Now EY and LSC will be working even more closely together to build SciTech Scity – and change the world.”

New Brunswick

In Central New Jersey, New Brunswick is always a familiar sight in the spotlight, and rightly so, when referring to its list of impressive proposed, ongoing and recently begun projects.

Topping the list is The Hub @ New Brunswick Station. “This project is truly a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity for a city to further redefine itself,” Christopher J. Paladino, president of New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), states proudly.

The Hub is a 1.7-million-square-foot mixed-use, four-acre redevelopment site with flexible build-to-suit opportunities, onsite parking and is located just steps from the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Line and Amtrak via a sky-bridge. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is the exclusive marketing agent for The Hub.

As part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), occupants will receive an exemption from sales tax on construction and may be eligible for other city and state incentives. The Hub’s location offers direct access to Rutgers University, a highly educated, skilled workforce, and many mass transit options. “This mixed-use project will be a hot bed for innovation,” Paladino adds. This urban oasis is positioned to be the ideal place to work, stay and play and will allow top talent to enjoy some of the nest shops, restaurants and arts and cultural centers in the state.”

Also in the region, The City of New Brunswick and DEVCO have begun the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) project, a $172-million redevelopment initiative that will transform New Brunswick’s Downtown Cultural Arts District. NBPAC is a public-private partnership among DEVCO, the City of New Brunswick, Rutgers University, Middlesex County, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Brunswick Cultural Center, Pennrose, LLC, and New Brunswick Parking Authority, in addition to 11 other groups and organizations.

Riverfront Square at the site of the former Newark Bears Stadium. The project, which comprises 7.65 acres, calls for the development of approximately 2.3 million square feet of residential, office, retail and cultural space.

The NBPAC initiative, a 450,000-square-foot project, will be located on the site of the former George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theater in the city’s downtown, and will continue to distinguish New Brunswick as a premier center for the performing arts.

“The City of New Brunswick and its partner in redevelopment, DEVCO, will soon be ‘ushering’ in a new era for our Cultural Center with the construction of these transformative facilities, further bolstering New Brunswick’s legacy as a place where the arts grow and thrive,” says New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill.


Elsewhere in New Jersey, the Trenton area continues to shine, particularly in the light of a just-released study by Greater Trenton, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic revitalization in New Jersey’s capital city, in conjunction with the Trenton Parking Authority, to determine the market potential and optimum market position for newly-introduced housing units in Downtown Trenton. The study reveals a strong demand for up to 760 housing units in Downtown Trenton over the next five years with younger singles and couples representing the largest share of that market, at 68 percent.

“We’re excited about Trenton’s growing residential market demand, which will help fuel economic activity throughout the city,” says Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson. “More residential and mixed-use development will enhance Downtown Trenton as a sought-after living destination as well as a premier state capitol and a business destination.”

According to the study, which was conducted by Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc., demand for up to 600 of the 760 units in Downtown Trenton includes apartment rentals, with the remaining housing mix including for-sale condominiums and row-houses or townhomes.


Studies that indicate positive growth are also being exhibited in the City of Camden, as a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report reveals that Camden recently had the nation’s highest percentage employment increase over a one-year period. This largest over-the-year percentage growth in employment among the nation’s metropolitan regions occurred in the Camden-metro area, with a 3.7-percent increase. The BLS data, citing non-farm payroll employment from 2016 to 2017, covered increases in 34 of the 38 metropolitan divisions nationwide, including all five metro-areas encompassing New Jersey, putting Camden at the top with the Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas area.

Some indicators that this high-employment trend will continue to hold steadfastly are the litany of projects dotting the landscape that continues to be completed, plus new projects on the horizon, to cite some impressive examples:

American Water Works Company, Inc., the largest publicly traded US water and wastewater utility company, is building a new headquarters at One Water Street on The Camden Waterfront. When completed later this year, the five-story, 220,000-square-foot facility will house more than 600 employees, consolidating four of its locations in South Jersey.

Also underway is the 95,000-
square-foot Joint Health Sciences Center, scheduled to open in early 2019 for students who attend Rutgers-Camden, Rowan University, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Camden County College. It will create facilities for allied health programs, biomedical research laboratories, and a center for successful aging. This development at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway will have a $72-million economic impact in the City of Camden, in addition to providing regional economic benefits and local jobs.

As a result of the state designating Camden as a Garden State Growth Zone, some 28 projects have sprung up across Camden. These projects will have $1.4 billion in private investment, create nearly 2,000 new jobs and retain more than 3,500 additional jobs. The new development will provide 7,000 jobs in the construction industry as well.

The streets here are lined with some of the biggest names in business: Holtec, Cooper/MD Anderson Cancer Center, Philadelphia 76ers, Subaru of America, American Water, EMR Eastern, Lockheed Martin, Cooper University Health and the new $700 million Camden Waterfront project with office space, residential units and a waterfront hotel.

As outgoing Governor Chris Christie said most-enthusiastically in his final State of the State address, “The rebirth of Camden is happening!

To read more articles in New Jersey Business magazine, visit:

Tech Cities & Urban Revitalization

NJBIA and Audible’s 2018 Economic Policy Forum

On March 14, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and Audible, Inc. will host a 2018 Economic Policy Forum focusing on how technology-based startups are important drivers of economic growth, especially in our urban centers.

Titled “A Tale of Tech Cities Innovation & Urban Revitalization,” discussions at the forum, to be held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, will revolve around how tech companies make outsized contributions to employment, innovation, competitiveness and productivity growth.

However, new tech businesses need unique drivers to grow. Therefore, tech industry experts, the investor community, public sector and tech entrepreneurs will be on hand at the forum to talk about the elements of a strong technology-based ecosystem and policies that embrace early-stage high-growth companies; those companies that are creating jobs, taxable revenue and economic opportunity.

Featured keynote speakers will include Governor Phil Murphy and Don Katz, CEO of Audible, Inc.

There will be two panel discussions. The first, titled “Making New Jersey More Rewarding for Tech,” will discuss the policies, public-private partnerships and other initiatives to make the state more rewarding for tech companies and entrepreneurs, spurring the growth of the innovation economy and tech ecosystem.

The second panel, titled “Tech Talent Attraction and Retention,” will discuss the policies and initiatives necessary to enhance access to tech talent, which is critical for existing and new businesses to be competitive.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Visit the NJBIA events calendar at to register.


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