Campus Town, the proposed development of a mixed-use commercial and residential center alongside campus, moved closer to becoming a reality last semester when the College selected The PRC Group as project developer. The West Long Branch, NJ-based company will lead development and handle property management of the project that, as currently envisioned, would add shops, restaurants, and student apartments to a 13-acre tract adjacent to campus.
Under terms of the agreement, PRC would assume all financial obligations associated with the project and provide TCNJ annual rent in a ground lease term of up to 50 years.
The public-private partnership between TCNJ and PRC was made possible by a provision in the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, explained Curt Heuring, TCNJ’s vice president of administration. The College Board of Trustees passed a resolution on January 24, 2012, authorizing President R. Barbara Gitenstein to proceed with the project.
The project still needs final approval from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). PRC submitted its application to NJEDA in January, Heuring said.
Pending NJEDA approval, Heuring was hopeful construction would start by May. To prepare for this contingency, the College recently relocated two parking lots that were situated on the proposed Campus Town site—a tract of land just south of the campus’ main entrance, between Rt. 31 and Metzger Drive (the main campus loop).
Heuring said the main objectives of Campus Town are to provide student housing and services that TCNJ could not otherwise afford to build; to provide a new location for the bookstore, thereby freeing up space in the Brower Student Center; and to provide a new fitness/wellness facility for students.
In addition to augmenting and enhancing the living-learning environment TCNJ provides for students, Campus Town would deliver amenities that will appeal to alumni returning to campus, such as retail stores and restaurants, Heuring said.