New Brunswick Raises Curtain on $275M Mixed-Use Plan

Taking a cue from Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall, New Brunswick, N.J. will market the air rights for a $275 million office, residential and retail project to provide a new home for several of the city’s performing arts venues.“It’s a model that has precedents, and very successful precedents,” a spokesperson for the project’s lead city agency, the New Brunswick Development Corp., told CPN this morning. Using the strategy that provided funding for Carnegie Hall’s renovation, the city will use revenue from the sale of the project’s air rights to generate about 70 percent of the estimated $50 million cost of the project’s performing-arts portion. That will include 500-seat and 200-seat proscenium theaters, a black-box theater, classrooms, rehearsal facilities, and community space. The venue’s initial resident companies will include the George Street Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre Co., Mason Gross School of the Arts, and American Repertory Ballet. New Brunswick Development Corp. is in discussions with prospective tenants for the project’s office component, which will provide 286,215 square feet on floors 3 through 14. The city is courting such prospective users as finance, pharmaceuticals and health-care users are among the prospective users. A 20-story residential portion of the tower spanning the 12th through the 34th floors will incorporate 200 market-rate condominiums. The agency expects to strike an agreement with a developer and to land principal office tenants this year. Because the project is within a half-mile of New Brunswick’s train station, the   developer will be eligible for a new state tax credit that will offset the project’s entire development cost.  All told, New Brunswick’s redevelopment pipeline contains projects valued at $600 million. This fall the city expects to kick off construction of the Gateway, a 200-unit, $165 million condominium project about a quarter mile from the train station. Also waiting in the wings is construction of the Stem Cell Institute of