A rendering of AvalonBay Communities Inc.’s planned mixed-use transit village project at the Princeton Junction train station in West Windsor — Courtesy: AvalonBay
By Joshua Burd
AvalonBay Communities Inc. has announced three co-developers for a $300 million project to create a new mixed-use destination at the Princeton Junction train station.
The multifamily builder, which is spearheading the residential and retail development in West Windsor, announced Wednesday that it will partner with Pulte Homes, Atria Senior Living and Welltower Inc. to transform the 25-acre property off Washington Road. The companies will take part in a long-awaited plan that now calls for nearly 870 residential units including apartments, senior housing and for-sale homes, along with retail space and a large public promenade.
The site, located about a mile south of Route 1, has long been home to a largely deserted and obsolete office complex.
“We’re tremendously excited to lead, with our co-developers, the next stage in the transformation of Princeton Junction’s transit village,” said Ron Ladell, a senior vice president with AvalonBay and the company’s lead executive in New Jersey. “By selecting Welltower and Atria to jointly develop the senior living community, we are partnering with the best-in-class senior housing developers and owners. Further, we are pleased to announce that Pulte Homes will be developing both new construction townhome and condominiums that will appeal to a wide variety of residents.”
The Arlington, Virginia-based developer said it will develop 535 apartments on the site, while Welltower and Atria will build and own another 135 age-restricted units. Pulte, for its part, will develop 48 condominium flats and 150 for-sale townhomes.
“As a further example of the uniqueness of this overall development, residents can choose from rental housing that is or is not age-restricted along with for-sale housing, with all residential options only steps away from one of the most active train stations in the entire Northeast,” said Scott Fishbone, a vice president with AvalonBay.
Atria will manage the senior living community after completion.
“We believe in the potential of this development to help older adults in this part of New Jersey live their best lives,” said John A. Moore, Atria Senior Living’s chairman and CEO. “Within the next 10 years, the number of people above the age of 80 will be at its highest levels in history, and there is significant demand for senior living communities that can protect, nurture and enrich the lives of older adults. We are happy to partner with the outstanding team at Welltower and work alongside AvalonBay on this exciting mixed-use development and revitalization.”
The announcement comes two years after AvalonBay detailed its initial plans for the site, for which West Windsor approved a redevelopment plan in 2009. An earlier proposal by Intercap Holdings never came to fruition, but AvalonBay has worked with township officials in recent years to revive and refine a project that would create a vibrant downtown for the municipality.
The station is served by NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor line and provides access to Princeton via the shuttle service known as the dinky. Prior to the pandemic, Princeton Junction served more than 4,000 daily commuters who parked at the station.
“We are excited to work with a fantastic group of partners in bringing state-of-the-art housing options to seniors living in this dynamic section of the Northeast Corridor,” said Michael Ferry, Welltower’s head of development. “Mixed-use housing providing walkable access to comprehensive retail offerings, a large public promenade and a vital transit hub, will allow for active and engaged lifestyles for the area’s senior population.”
According to Ladell, the retail space will total some 17,000 square feet, while the roughly 50,000-square-foot promenade will run adjacent to the station. The developer expects to have site plan hearings this summer.
“Pulte Homes is recognized as the market leader in New Jersey transit-oriented developments, and Princeton Junction will further bolster our reputation as the best-in-class new construction home builders in this space,” PulteGroup Northeast Corridor Division President John Evans said. “We will offer three collections of high-quality home designs that will appeal to every buyer looking to create their dream home at Princeton Junction. Perfectly located in a top school district and offering the convenience of a walkable lifestyle, this community is poised to become one of the state’s go-to destinations.”
Redeveloping the site will also help West Windsor fulfill its state-mandated obligations for low- and moderate-income housing. The overall project will include 149 affordable units.
“Residents have waited for many years for the redevelopment of this site near the Princeton Junction train station,” West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe said. “This development will make an area that is currently underutilized and run down vibrant once again. I want to thank AvalonBay and our town council members for their cooperation as we worked through various iterations of the design. The mix of housing types and retail makes this project unique. I am excited to see it become reality.”