A rendering of The Hub @ New Brunswick — Courtesy: New Brunswick Development Corp. and Elkus Manfredi Architects
By Joshua Burd
State officials and the New Brunswick Development Corp. will begin efforts to strategize and craft a financial model for a redevelopment site in New Brunswick, where Gov. Phil Murphy has called for creating a campus for research and innovation.
The state Economic Development Authority on Friday approved an agreement with the developer, also known as Devco, to prepare a preliminary assessment and strategy for the site known as The Hub @ New Brunswick. Those steps include “reviewing existing operating models and best practices, establishing a financial model and developing high-level value propositions and partnership arrangements.”
According to the EDA, the work will inform a final set of recommendations concerning the 12-acre site, which borders the New Brunswick train station and is approved for up to 4 million square feet of mixed-used development. The EDA and Devco will jointly fund the effort.
“Today, New Jersey is taking another step forward in recapturing its reputation as a hub of innovation,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “The actions taken by the EDA will help grow new innovative companies, advance new ideas and generate new economic opportunities for our state.”
Murphy announced in March that the state would formally support The Hub, which is years in the making as a project by Devco. As a result, the state and other business leaders in New Brunswick could play a significant role in bringing tenants to the property.
The site includes a shovel-ready, four-acre parcel that is approved for more than 2 million square feet of commercial, research and retail space. On Friday, Murphy said the project “represents the opportunity for New Jersey to create incubator and research space for next-generation companies and academic research facilities and attract corporate entrepreneurial tenants.”
As part of its monthly board meeting, the EDA also approved a $2 million limited partnership investment in Edison Partners IX, a venture fund formed in 2018. The fund supports growth-stage, software and technology-enabled companies with revenues between $5 and $25 million and typical employment of 40 to 50 personnel at the time of initial investment.
Previous funds spearheaded by Edison Partners, in which the EDA has also invested, have produced growing New Jersey-based companies such as Zelis in Bedminster and Billtrust in Mercer County.
“A successful innovation economy requires strong public-private partnerships and a focus on talent, capital, and real estate,” said Tim Sullivan, the authority’s CEO. “Through today’s actions, the EDA is helping to advance this vision to reclaim New Jersey’s leadership in innovation.”