Nexus Properties and Rowan University hosted a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday for the largest phase of Rowan Boulevard, a mixed-use, $400 million project in Glassboro. From left: Councilman John E. Wallace III, Gloucester County Freeholder Heather Simmons, Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand, Nexus Properties Chief Operating Officer Dante Germano, Glassboro Administrator Joe Brigandi and New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney. — Courtesy: Nexus Properties
By Joshua Burd
A developer has taken the wraps off the largest piece of a mixed-use, $400 million project that has transformed Rowan University’s footprint in downtown Glassboro.
The firm, Nexus Properties, on Wednesday marked the completion of a portion that includes more than 550 beds for students, some three dozen private market-rate apartments and a host of commercial and classroom space. Known as A3, the development spans more than 336,000 square feet of new construction across four acres, serving as an extension of a town square and retail district that have already opened as part of the Rowan Boulevard project.
The developer joined local officials and university leaders on Wednesday to tout the milestone in the public-private partnership.
“Today’s ribbon cutting is a celebration, not just of a state-of-the-art mixed-use development, but of the ambitious vision for Rowan Boulevard as a whole,” said Dante Germano, chief operating officer of Nexus Properties. “The A3 phase is a centerpiece of what has become one of the most exciting and dynamic downtown settings anywhere in the region.
“The addition of these new residences, classrooms, and retail helps to solidify Rowan Boulevard’s growing reputation as one of country’s preeminent town-and-gown destinations, serving both students and the broader community.”
All told, the latest phase of Rowan Boulevard includes
- 230 Victoria, a six-story, 195,000-square-foot building with 413 student beds, a 17,700-square-foot fitness center, 30,000 square feet of office and classroom space and 14,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space
- 223 West High St., a four-story, 70,000-square-foot building with 144 student beds and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space
- Park Place South, a four-story, 70,000-square-foot building with 37 luxury apartments —available to nonstudents — and 14,400 square feet of ground-floor retail space
- Mick Drive Parking Garage, a 934-space parking structure located directly adjacent to 230 Victoria, 223 West High St. and Park Place South
The new buildings follow earlier phases of Rowan Boulevard, including a new Barnes & Noble University Bookstore and a 316,000-square-foot mixed-use building with retail, medical facilities, student housing and 57 luxury apartments. As a sign of the demand, Nexus noted that the earlier apartment phase is fully occupied, adding that more than 30 of the 37 new apartments at Park Place South have already been leased.
A3 is just steps from the new Barnes & Noble and a Chickie & Pete’s restaurant to the downtown. It represents the second-to-last component of the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project, which includes four core phases spanning through 2018 and will represent nearly a decade of construction.
Overall, the $400 million project is meant to create a city-style, walkable hub that serves both as a nucleus for the university and a destination for surrounding residents. Once completed, it will offer 2,771 student beds, 82,000 square feet of classroom space, 114 market-rate apartments, a 129-room hotel, 28,000 square feet of medical space, a 17,700 square-foot fitness center, a 1.75 acre town square and two parking garages with more than 2,300 parking spaces.
“I stand proudly with my fellow Council members in celebrating the completion of this phase of the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project,” Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe said in a prepared statement. “These walkways provide critical linkages throughout Downtown Glassboro and will help create a safe and attractive connection between the college campus and the businesses located Downtown. This is another important step in the ongoing effort to improve both the student and the consumer experience in Downtown Glassboro.”
In announcing the completion of A3, the university touted its “immense growth” in recent years. Enrollment at Rowan has grown by more than 7,000 since 2011 to a population that will include more than 18,000 students this fall.
A3 includes modern classroom space specifically designed for Rowan University’s College of Communication and Creative Arts.
“Rowan’s vitality and ability to serve as a leading public university comes from our commitment to serve our region through creative, ambitious, practical partnerships,” Rowan University President Ali A. Houshmand said. “Through the Rowan Boulevard development, Rowan University, Glassboro and Nexus, as well as other private investors and developers, have created a truly unique city-scape that is a national model for town-gown growth — a win for all involved.”