On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the Planning Board will consider a proposed redevelopment plan for the Ferren parking deck area and nearby properties (link). The Board will be reviewing the plan to determine its consistency with the City’s Master Plan.
The redevelopment plan area is partially in an “area of redevelopment” and partially in an “area of rehabilitation”. The distinction is the redevelopment eminent domain power cannot be used in the “area in need of rehabilitation”. All of the privately-owned parcels in the redevelopment plan area are in the rehabilitation area. Only a portion of the NBPA-owned Ferren Mall property is in the redevelopment area. (See map)
The intent of the Redevelopment Plan is to create a development program for the 4-acre site situated immediately east of the New Brunswick train station in downtown New Brunswick.
Historically, the plan area has been developed with low-rise commercial buildings and public parking facilities. A public parking facility has been at the center of the area since the early 1950’s. The deck was expanded in 1982 to increase the deck size and create the Ferren Mall for retail uses. The mall was one of the early revitalization projects in the city. This facility is the largest parcel in the plan area. It is currently vacant and in need of substantial rehabilitation. The balance of the area is developed with small, low-rise commercial buildings that are primarily occupied by retail and professional offices.
The Plan proposes mixed use development to promote a vibrant and walkable urban area at the center for the city’s downtown neighborhood. The plan area is in the Transit Village District, where dense, mixed-use development is preferred, so as to take advantage of the transit and pedestrian infrastructure proximate to this location.
The Redevelopment Plan also calls for a pedestrian-oriented environment at street level, so as to encourage pedestrian activity throughout the plan area including pedestrian/cycle routes or paths through the plan area to allow for public non-car access through the existing “super block” in both the east/west and north/south directions.
The plan proposes high-density, mixed-use development as called for in the City Master Plan, City Master Plan Re-exam Report, transit village designation and the Core Vision study.
The Planning Board’s review will be at their July 12 meeting, which starts at 7:30 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall, 78 Bayard Street. Other unrelated matters are also on the Board’s agenda.