New Brunswick Development Corp. is overseeing the development of the new 450,000-square-foot, $215 million project known as the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. — Courtesy: New Brunswick Development Corp. and Elkus Manfredi Architects
By Joshua Burd
The team behind the highly anticipated, mixed-use New Brunswick Performing Arts Center project has closed on the financing for the sweeping $171 million development.
Pennrose LLC and the New Brunswick Development Corp. announced they had assembled a complex array of public and private funding sources. The milestone allows the development team to move forward on a 22-story project that will create 207 apartments, two state-of-the-art theater venues and 36,000 square feet of office space, among other components.
Construction is underway, with the apartments expected to be available in summer 2019.
“This will be an iconic development for New Brunswick and New Jersey adding a rich cultural center to an already established hub for the performing arts,” said Richard K. Barnhart, chairman & CEO for Pennrose LLC. “The cultural spaces and mixed-income apartments will expand Pennrose’s commitment to New Brunswick.”
The funding formula includes “significant participation” from the state Economic Development Authority, Middlesex County, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the city of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Parking Authority, Pennrose said. The firm also cited participation by Pillar Financial/Fannie Mae, Citibank, Investors Bank, Aegon, Rutgers University, which helped complete the transaction alongside private equity sources.
The project is slated to transform the city’s famed theater district, redeveloping what had been the site of the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre. The two theater companies will return in 2019 to dedicated performance, rehearsal and administrative spaces in the new facility, which will also host the American Repertory Ballet and Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Plans include two theaters with 462 seats and 252 seats and three rehearsal stages. The residential component is slated include a 20 percent set-aside of affordable units, with Pennrose aiming to market some of those apartments to people involved in the arts.
“Our goal is to be able to provide to people who work behind the scenes to produce these performances the opportunity to live in some amazing apartments with connected access to where they work,” Barnhart said.