Brownfield Cleanup Completed, New Jersey Mixed-Use Moves Forward

Environmental remediation has been completed on the 132-acre Riverbend District, formerly known as Harrison MetroCentre, in Harrison, N.J., which will allow owner-developer Advance Realty Group to move forward with construction of infrastructure such as roads and utilities. Phase I of the Riverbend District will include more than 800,000 square feet of retail space, including an anchor grocery; a 16-screen cinema; restaurants; a 200-room hotel and a 350-room hotel with 25,000 square feet of conference space; a wellness center; 1.5 million square feet of office; and about 1,800 for-sale and rental residential units. Construction on these elements is expected to begin in early 2010. Following the removal of more than 48,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the brownfield site, Advance’s first deadline, however, is October 2009, the scheduled opening of Riverbend’s 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena. The arena will be home to the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, who currently play at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. To date more than $125 million has been spent at the site, which is bordered to the south by the Passaic River, with an additional $200 million in committed costs. At 132 acres, the site, Advance emphasizes, is nearly as large as either Chicago’s Loop or Boston’s Back Bay. And like Chicago’s Loop, Riverbend will have access to plenty of mass transit among its selling points. The area is close to N.J. Transit, Amtrak and an onsite PATH station (which will get $180 million in upgrades), permitting easy access to Newark Penn Station. The district is 20 minutes by train to Manhattan and 10 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport by rail or car. The project team also includes development consultant Street-Works L.L.C., master plan architects Robert A.M. Stern Architects L.L.P. and development planners RevenuePlus L.L.C.