Jason Kaplan, president of Kaplan Cos., welcomed local officials earlier this week to mark the opening of Merriewold at Highland Park. — Courtesy: Kaplan Cos.
By Joshua Burd
One of the state’s newest apartment communities is not along the Hudson River or a mass transit line, but on the grounds of a historic castle built by a founding father of Johnson & Johnson.
The 196-unit project, Merriewold at Highland Park, occupies a piece of the former Seward Johnson estate off River Road in the Middlesex County borough. While it sits behind the 91-year-old castle known as Merriewold and is designed to blend in with the existing scenic environment, developer Kaplan Cos. says the newly built complex comes with the modern features of a new high-end apartment community.
Kaplan welcomed local officials earlier this week to unveil the project atop the 2,000-acre bluff.
“Over the years, as the region’s population has grown, we have had many opportunities to develop the 17 acres behind the Castle,” said Jason Kaplan, president of Kaplan Cos.
“But we needed it to be the right project at the right time, the type of project that celebrates the grandeur of the Castle, but also recognizes the changing demographics of this community.”
The firm has owned and maintained its headquarters at the property since 1963, according to a news release. Kaplan touted the history of the castle as a magnet for culture and society going back decades, noting that the well-maintained structure now serves as a welcome to residents of the new apartment community.
Merriewold at Highland Park includes amenities from other recently opened Kaplan projects in Bayonne and Helmetta, such as a clubhouse with on-demand yoga and Pilates classes, a lounge, concierge services and a resort-style swimming pool. The apartments, which start at $1,875 for a one-bedroom, include high-end finishes and stainless steel appliances.
The firm also touted that new residents will not have to pay rent until 2018.
Merriewold at Highland Park backs up to the Rutgers University preserve, the news release said. It is across the street from Johnson Park, which the Johnson family donated to Middlesex County, as part of the original 2,000 acres of Merriewold.
“It is a stunning place to live,” Kaplan said. “Merriewold is nestled in the woods, an oasis in easy walking distance to the Highland Park downtown and only a mile from train stations in New Brunswick and Edison. This is a terrific opportunity that we are proud to offer.”