Buildings 123 and 123A at the former Hoffman-LaRoche campus in Nutley and Clifton will house a new medical school. — Courtesy: JLL
By Joshua Burd
State officials have approved a $20 million tax credit to help support the construction of a new parking and retail structure in Clifton, in what they say is a key part of the planned Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at the former Hoffman-LaRoche campus.
The incentive, approved Tuesday by the Economic Development Authority, will help the institutions build a 214,660-square-foot structure that would accommodate some 805 vehicles. The parking component would make up the vast majority of the building, while the retail space housing a campus bookstore would take up about 2,500 square feet on the ground floor.
The project site is located at 340 Kingsland St., part of the sprawling 116-acre site that straddles Clifton and Nutley along Route 3. The campus was the home of Hoffman-LaRoche and thousands of employees for more than 80 years, but the Swiss pharmaceutical giant announced in 2012 that it would shutter the complex.
Prism Capital Partners, a Bloomfield-based developer, has since acquired the site and now hopes to redevelop it as a thriving mixed-use campus just miles from Manhattan. Its anchors will be the medical school and two existing Seton Hall programs, nursing and medical sciences, which will relocate from the university’s main campus.
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The institutions will occupy about 238,000 square feet inside two buildings that were left standing at the Roche campus. According to the EDA, the proposed $25.3 million parking structure will be adjacent to the existing buildings.
The authority’s board approved the incentive under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth program, which includes a component aimed at helping mixed-use parking projects. Hackensack-Meridian and Seton Hall applied for the incentive under an entity dubbed Kingsland Street Urban Renewal LLC.
Citing a 2015 study by Langan Engineering, the EDA said the medical school and the more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff that will occupy the campus will generate strong demand for parking. Construction is expected to begin this coming April in conjunction with the closing of financing and investments.
Financing sources include about $5 million of equity and an $18 million bridge loan tied to its ERG award, according to an EDA board memo.
Completion is slated for March 2019. The EDA will not issue the ERG tax credits until after construction is completed and other criteria are met.