The Nelson Glass House on Spring Street in Princeton —Photo by Ricardo Barros/Courtesy: JZA+D
By Joshua Burd
A plan to bring new apartments and retail space to the site of a historic business in Princeton is now complete, according to a team with Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design.
The locally based firm, which spearheaded the project on behalf of the Nelson family, said the former Nelson Glass & Aluminum Co. property on Spring Street is now home to six apartments and a ground floor housing a coffee counter and a cigar bar. The new offerings follow a design that called for a three-story addition to the existing brick building, a former glass and aluminum fabrication shop, comprising nearly 11,000 square feet of development in a neighborhood just outside Princeton’s central business district.
“The Nelson family have owned both 45 Spring Street, and the house next door to it for decades, so we were designing the redevelopment for a client who loves the neighborhood as much as anyone else,” said Joshua Zinder, founder and managing partner of JZA+D. “They understood what it would mean to add more housing here, and what the right approach to redevelopment would mean for the block’s longtime residents.
“Nelson Glass House is sustainable, accessible, and celebrates Princeton’s architectural diversity,” he added. “And the street-facing retail has activated the street socially, in a way that neighbors appreciate.”
George Gnad of Lenders Capital Realty Services arranged a $4 million construction loan for the project, securing the financing in 2019 while working for Avison Young at the time.
In a news release, Zinder, said the property has a single one-bedroom unit, three two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units, including one that’s earmarked as affordable housing. Each has modern appliances and fixtures, with exposed brick and daylight, while the building offers an elevator, on-site parking and bike storage.
JZA+D added that the new construction rises to just under the height of neighboring apartment buildings, while each floor is stepped back from the one below to reduce the massing and allow light and air to reach the street level, while also creating terraces for residents. Meantime, its exterior design blends the building’s brick with glass rails and aluminum trim — a nod to the legacy of Nelson Glass & Aluminum and the contributions of the family owners.
The project also meets requirements for a silver rating on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scale, Zinder said, with features such as a planted green roof and a parking lot composed of permeable pavers for managing stormwater.
“This exact design won’t work everywhere, but it shows that innovative strategies for adding housing in contextually sensitive areas can win approvals,” he said. “Adding units above commercial space is just one strategy among many we’ve developed for building the communities that people want, and that every growing municipality needs.”
New apartments coming to site of iconic glass business in downtown Princeton