EAST BRUNSWICK — The first phase of an ambitious plan for a $500 million mixed-use redevelopment project on Highway 18 is nearing construction.
EB Development Urban Renewal, the designated developer of the Route 18 Redevelopment Area, has applied for a Preliminary and Final Master Site Plan and Preliminary and Final Subdivision Approval, for Phase I of the development comprising residential and commercial components which will be developed in several stages.
The approximately 12.9-acre property is located along the west side of southbound Highway 18, north of Lake Avenue and east of Renee Road, according to documents filed with the township.
The properties consist of 253 Route 18 and the surrounding wooded area, 257 Route 18, 259 Route 18 and 261 Route 18, depending on the township.
The devastated site, which includes the former home of GAP and The Wiz, is in dire need of redevelopment, Mayor Brad Cohen said.
“I am pleased to see that the redevelopment process is progressing as promised to residents over the past few years,” the mayor said. “It’s finally happening.”
When completed, Vermella East Brunswick will include a transportation hub, mixed-use buildings, hotel, technical center and medical office. The plan also includes restaurants with alfresco dining, shops, pedestrian walkways, bike paths, water features, a central public plaza, several open public greenways, and an outdoor amphitheater to promote gatherings and celebrations. community events, as well as an indoor and outdoor pet facility.
“We expect to start seeing construction start by the end of the year or certainly early next year,” Cohen said.
The requested approval for Phase I of the project includes a mixed-use building (Building A) containing approximately 306 residential rental units with a mix of bachelor, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units; 11,322 square feet of retail space; 12,871 square feet of retail/medical office space; 8,375 square feet of restaurant space; 676 parking spaces, including ground floor, underground and surface parking; and a building with approximately 5,160 square feet of restaurant space with 61 surface parking spaces, according to a public notice.
Earlier:The first element of the East Brunswick Route 18 redevelopment plan is in place
Earlier:East Brunswick can condemn 80 acres along Highway 18 for redevelopment, according to court rules
Existing buildings and surface parking infrastructure will be removed, according to documents.
The applicant is also requesting approval of associated driveways, utilities, landscaping and lighting, and other related site improvements to support the proposed uses.
The plan also includes consolidating the seven existing lots into three new lots, the public notice says.
The request is for overall variance relief to allow for a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 10 feet in the proposed commercial/medical portion of Building A, where the redevelopment plan calls for a minimum of 14 feet; and a proposed new lot to contain 1.18 acres where the redevelopment plan calls for a minimum of 1.5 acres.
The request also seeks a general derogation and a waiver of exemption for certain proposed signs.
The property is located within part of Redevelopment Area 2A and Redevelopment Area 3A, collectively the Redevelopment Area, designated as an area requiring redevelopment by the Township on August 14, 2017.
The redevelopment area is subject to the Highway 18 Corridor Redevelopment Plan, which was passed by ordinance by the Township on June 25, 2018 and amended by ordinance passed by the Township on December 29, 2020.
A special hearing on the application is scheduled to take place at the planning board meeting at 7:30 p.m. on September 14.
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Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to his work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.