Nexus Properties, the developer behind much of Rowan Boulevard, will soon start construction on another downtown Glassboro project. According to plans submitted to the borough, Nexus seeks to build a single 4 story 125 unit apartment building on a section of currently undeveloped land along Poplar Street. The project is not affiliated with Rowan Housing.
Originally namedSummit Square, the development was planned to have 52 town-homes, however only 15 units were ever built. Nexus purchased the land from D’Anastasio Corporation who had ceased constructing at the subdivision in 2013.
Nexus received the go-ahead from the Glassboro Planning Board on August 7, 2018, with work on the last phase of Rowan Boulevard coming to a close. The plan had previously faced opposition from some residents of the current Summit Square town-homes who feared their street could not accommodate such a high density project.
In its approval, the planning board stipulated Nexus provide fencing and tree buffers between existing properties and the new structure.
Summer Culkin, a student worker at the High Street Arts Gallery, expressed mixed thoughts on Glassboro turning into more of a full-time residential destination.
“I want it to be a college town so bad and it could clash.” Culkin said. But, in terms of business impact, Culkin said, “I’ve lived here during the past two summers and it’s definitelybad for business when students aren’t here.”
According to Ronda Abbruzzese, the Nexus Properties vice president of marketing, the company hopes to start construction by the end of September or early October.
“We are excited to expand our market rate availability and presence in Downtown Glassboro,” Abbruzzese said. “Currently we have 114 market rate units and they are 100 percent leased. When one opens up, it goes within an hour!”
Architectural designs were handled by Blackney Hayes Architects, the same Philadelphia firm that designed Nexus’s other Rowan Boulevard properties. The building will consist of 98 one-bedroom units and 27 two-bedroom dwellings. Luxury features include balconies, a pool and a gaming space. 136 parking spots are provided on site. Additional spots will be made available in the Mick Drive garage, located about 200 yards from the building.
Repost of an Article by The New York Times on May 29, 2018:
GLASSBORO, N.J. — Joseph A. Brigandi Jr. remembers when his father ran a sub shop in the heart of this southern New Jersey town in the 1960s, when there were only four or five restaurants downtown and no out-of-town shopping malls threatened the survival of local businesses.
What seemed an idyllic period for Mr. Brigandi’s hometown, where he is now the borough administrator, did not last. By the mid-1980s, many businesses had closed because they could not compete with the malls. Jobs disappeared, and some residents left for the suburbs. Downtown Glassboro became a crime-ridden area where most of the housing was subsidized or rented by students from Glassboro State College, which is now Rowan University.
“It was not a pleasant time or a safe time to be in Glassboro,” Mr. Brigandi, 61, said. “Because of what was going on, it affected the whole town. There was only a handful of businesses left that were still doing O.K.”
The large mixed-use development in Glassboro, NJ, is in its final stage. Nexus Properties’ Dante Germano revealed the 14-year evolution of the project, its challenges and how it transformed the South Jersey community.
by Alexandra Pacurar | Feb 01, 2018
Rowan Boulevard’s history began in 2004, after the Borough of Glassboro, a quiet suburban town in southern New Jersey, acquired 26 acres of land ripe for redevelopment, before the mixed-use development trend caught on. The project comprised four core phases and the last one—a $75 million investment—broke ground this year. The initiative is a public-private partnership of Rowan University, the Borough of Glassboro and Nexus Properties, the master developer.
The first stage—worth $107 million—was completed in 2010 by former master developer SORA and brought roughly 900 student beds, as well as a two-story Barnes & Noble bookstore and a café, to downtown Glassboro. The following year, Nexus replaced SORA and kicked off the second phase of the project, which cost roughly $134 million. This included the five-story Whitney Center, which features 280 beds for the university as well as 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
One year later, Rowan Boulevard expanded again by adding a Marriott Courtyard hotel, a parking garage and the Enterprise Center—a building offering more than 50,000 square feet of classroom space dedicated to Rowan’s College of Graduate Education, along with an additional 10,000 square feet of retail space.
The second phase also welcomed the development’s first student housing project, known as 220 Rowan Blvd. The six-story building totals over 300,000 square feet and includes 57 apartments, almost 500 beds as well as 28,000 square feet of medical space and 20,000 square feet of retail space.
“Most recently, we celebrated the completion of the A3 phase in August of 2017. Totaling $110 million, and the largest phase of the project, A3 welcomed two buildings—223 High St. and 230 Victoria St.—and features a new Rowan University fitness center and a mix of student beds, market-rate apartments, 30,000 square feet of undergraduate classroom space, (a) 1,000-vehicle parking garage and 40,000 square feet of retail and office space,” Dante Germano, COO of Nexus Properties and a lifelong Glassboro resident, told Commercial Property Executive.
Rowan Boulevard’s final phase
Currently, the last phase of Rowan Boulevard is under construction. Dubbed A4, this portion will add three more mixed-use buildings. Germano discussed the complex development with CPE and weighed in on how this urban-style town center fits into a suburban area.
What can you tell us about the last phase of Rowan Boulevard? What does it include and when is it slated for completion?
Germano: The final phase of Rowan Boulevard, totaling $75 million, will include 20,000 square feet of retail space and three mixed-use buildings: 114 Victoria, 57 Main Street and Park Place North Apartments. Known as A4, this phase brings over 600 student beds and 20 apartments overlooking the town square. The final phase of the project broke ground in August 2017 and is slated for completion in 2018. Also coming to Rowan Boulevard in 2018 is a four-story theater including performance and restaurant space, as well as two floors dedicated to classroom space.
What were the challenges of such a complex development?
Germano: Proposing this type of transformative, large-scale and long-term project inherently presents varying challenges. We were tasked with balancing the needs of the borough and its residents with Rowan University’s vision for a growing campus and expanding student body. We found success by first opening the channels of communication. From the early stages of development, we have worked in close concert with each of Glassboro’s stakeholders and elected officials, partnering with them in each step of the process, from design to execution. The same approach led us to build strong relationships with leaders at Rowan University.
How does an urban-style town center fit into a suburban area?
Germano: Great suburban locations offer a lifestyle that blends comfort and access. That doesn’t change with the addition of an urban-style town center. In fact, a central hub like the one we’ve created in Glassboro can act as a magnet for the entire surrounding population, bringing people together not just to eat and drink with friends, but also to organize and attend larger cultural events. A town center can actually strengthen the fabric and identity of a suburb, not damage it.
In Glassboro, we’ve found that Rowan Boulevard has been a seamless fit. The borough has always enjoyed driveable access to restaurants, shops and education, but these never existed in a single location. It harmonizes perfectly with emerging consumer trends—emphasizing collaboration, walkability and diversity in retail choices—without compromising the privacy or freedom of the suburban lifestyle that they enjoy.
Do you think we will see more of this type of projects? Why, or why not?
Germano: The trend of creating dense, walkable town centers in otherwise suburban municipalities is here to stay. The reason is simple: they work. In addition to its undeniable appeal to consumers, a town center can also be a boon for the local economy. Many suburban towns are faced with declining tax bases and withering commerce as more young people and companies flock to cities. Still, there will always be a significant segment of the population that seek out the suburbs to work, retire or raise a family. A small pocket of urban, yet locally inspired development captures this population and becomes a breeding ground for new business and, in turn, ratables.
What can you tell us about financing such a large investment? What were the main sources of capital?
Germano: Financing a project of this scope required both resiliency and a little creativity. During the initial phases, our main sources of capital stemmed from a bank construction loan, developer equity loan and a bridge loan, which were collateralized by New Jersey tax credits. Once the initial phases of construction were complete, we took out the construction loan with a permanent loan from a life insurance company. We then converted the original bridge loan to a 10-year bank loan collateralized by tax credits.
Was it challenging to put together the capital stack?
Germano: At the time, putting together the capital stack was certainly a challenge, as the tax credits were still new and payable over a 10-year period. We spent a lot of time in negotiations with banks, but were ultimately able to finance the credits we needed to continue to move the redevelopment initiative forward.
What are the challenges of a public-private partnership? What was the contribution of your public partner?
Germano: We were tasked with harnessing the needs of both Rowan (University), as one of the fastest-growing schools in the nation, and the Borough of Glassboro, as a historic, burgeoning town nestled in a suburban setting. Every decision relating to the project was directly tied to meeting partner expectations while keeping our interests aligned.
An added challenge, as aforementioned, was the overall financing for the project. A redevelopment proposal the size of Rowan Boulevard required a significant capital stack, and with no public entity able to make a cash contribution, we were faced with finding viable solutions to successfully finance the project. Thankfully, our efforts were boosted with the borough issuing a PILOT and Rowan University agreeing to lease classroom and fitness space, providing short-term occupancy guarantees.
How do you see the evolution and growth of Rowan Boulevard going forward?
Germano: Looking ahead we plan to bring even more retail space to Rowan Boulevard, fostering opportunities that will make downtown Glassboro a true year-round regional destination. We’d like to build upon our success in attracting nearby residents to community events on Rowan Boulevard’s new town square. The beautifully landscaped open space offers an ideal setting for community events, musical concerts, local fundraisers, craft fairs, pop-up events, university initiatives and so much more.
Our plans also include bringing a 122,000-square-foot theater building to the Glassboro area—something that will be completely unique for the region and capable of drawing new visitors from throughout South Jersey. It will also provide a new dimension to the entertainment scene for the local community. We foresee the theater becoming a landmark for Glassboro and another attractive destination for the community.
Images courtesy of Blackney Hayes Architects and TeresArt Photography
Rowan University’s explosive growth had Glassboro officials worried that students would overrun the center of town. So Rowan and Glassboro went in on an all-new one to take care of that problem.
Usually, the developments I’ve come to refer to as “Instant Urbanism” pop us on the fringes of metropolitan areas, most often near some freeway interchange that wound up sprouting an edge city. These developments, like those now taking shape in King of
Prussia, are designed to inject the things young Millennials and their aging Baby Boomer parents both find increasingly desirable into the autocentric suburban landscape: streets lined with stores, apartments over those stores, sidewalks made for strolling, outdoor cafes, you get the idea.
Right now, in the sleepy South Jersey borough of Glassboro, a chunk of Instant Urbanism has sprung full-blown from what had been a residential neighborhood right smack in the center of town, well away from any freeway.
It’s called Rowan Boulevard, and the reason it’s there is to keep the university at the edge of town from swallowing it whole.
The college that almost ate Glassboro
The $100 million donation from industrialist Henry Rowan that transformed Glassboro State College into what is now Rowan University sparked a period of explosive growth that has yet to abate. As of this academic year, the university enrolled 18,454 students from 38 states and 34 countries, a far cry from enrollment in Glassboro State days.
All those new students began to make their presence felt in downtown Glassboro, and as far as the borough and merchants were concerned, that wasn’t an unalloyed blessing.
“About 14 years ago, this was about 90 single-family houses, said Ronda Abbruzzese, vice president of marketing and leasing for Nexus Properties, Rowan Boulevard’s current master developer. “They were turning into student rentals and a lot of frat houses.
At the time, Abbruzzese said, Rowan officials weren’t planning for the explosive growth that has come to the campus, but they soon became aware they needed to, for borough officials had begun to get complaints from Main Street merchants that the students were overrunning their stores and the town.
Nexus Properties, Glassboro and Rowan University have teamed up to create new downtown that benefits students and local residents alike.
Fourteen years in the making, Rowan Boulevard is nearing completion. The $425.5 million redevelopment project has resulted in a mixed-use project that serves both the community of Glassboro, New Jersey, and the Rowan University campus and the final phase will open in August 2018.
At completion, Rowan Boulevard will feature 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 totaling more than 2,300 parking spaces. The project is the result of a “public-public-private” partnership between Rowan University, the Borough of Glassboro and Nexus Properties.
Rendering of the A4 phase of the Rowan Boulevard Development. – (M&T BANK)
Less than two months after Nexus Properties and Rowan University opened the largest phase of the Rowan Boulevard development – delivering 557 student beds, 43,000 square feet of retail space, 37 luxury apartments and 30,000 square feet of classroom space – M&T Bank has announced it has secured two loans totaling $61.2 million to complete the next phase of Rowan Boulevard, known as A4.
The bank provided a $49.7 million construction loan and an $11.5 million bridge loan to Nexus Properties, who is set to deliver an additional 604 student beds, 20 luxury rentals and 18,000 square feet of retail space as part of the A4 development.
“Having grown up in Glassboro, the redevelopment of Rowan Boulevard has been a labor of love for me over the past few years,” Nexus Properties chief operating officer Dante Germano said in a news release. “With M&T Bank’s support, we have been able to bring state-of-the-art residences, retail and office properties to create a new and exciting downtown setting for the South Jersey region.”
A4, which is set to open in summer 2018, will be the last phase of Rowan Boulevard and will consist of approximately 267,000 square feet across three buildings at 57 North Main St. and 114 Victoria.
“As a graduate of Rowan University, it means so much to be part of this remarkable redevelopment of Glassboro that has brought new life to the community,” Shawn Field, vice president and relationship manager at M&T Bank, said. “Our team at the bank continues to be dedicated to bettering the very communities that we serve, work and live in, and we look forward to seeing Glassboro continue to grow and thrive.”
M&T Bank has provided financing to Nexus Properties for several phases of the Rowan Boulevard development. The bank was part of the Rowan Enterprise Center, 220 Rowan Blvd. and the A3 phase of the development.
Nexus Properties estimates Rowan Boulevard to be a $350 million project. The developer completed the first phase of the 26-acre project in 2010 when it delivered 884 student beds and 36,000 square feet of retail space for Barnes and Noble College Bookstore.
In 2012, Nexus and Rowan opened the second phase of Rowan Boulevard which included a mixed-use building known as the Whitney center, 280 student beds and 20,000 square feet of retail space. A 129-room Marriott hotel, 1,200-car parking garage, 52,000-square-foot classroom building and 9,600 square feet of retail were completed by Nexus Properties in 2013.
At 220 Rowan Blvd., Nexus delivered 57 apartments, 456 student beds, 28,000 square feet of medical space and 20,000 square feet of retail space in 2015.
A public-private partnership is helping to create a walkable downtown in Glassboro, New Jersey, and, in doing so, tying the town’s culture to that of its university.
Courtesy: Nexus Properties
A rendering of a portion of Nexus Properties and Rowan University’s Rowan Boulevard mixed-use community
Using a 26-acre plot of land owned by the township between Rowan University‘s campus and the town square, Rowan has tasked developer Nexus Properties with the creation of Rowan Boulevard, a multistage, mixed-use community that combines student housing with market-rate apartments and substantial ground-floor retail with academic offices and classrooms.
Across four phases, Rowan Boulevard carries a total price tag of $425M. Its third phase, delivered in September, totals 557 student beds, 37 market-rate apartments, 40K SF of ground-floor retail, 29.5K SF of classrooms, a fitness center and a 900-space parking garage. Not including the garage, this phase — called A3, with a $110M price tag — was split up into three buildings, with two dedicated to student housing and one with the standard apartments.
Before Rowan Boulevard, Rowan students rarely ventured into downtown Glassboro, and single-family houses filled with fraternities and students caused headaches for residents. But rather than fight to keep the school under control, the township embraced it, and that decision has allowed it to benefit from Rowan’s explosive growth.
“The original plan for these 26 acres that the town wanted did not include student housing,” Nexus Properties Vice President of Leasing & Marketing Ronda Abbruzzese said. “The town wanted it all to be market-rate apartments and retail, but as the university grew and evolved, so did the plan … Nexus was the first to say, ‘We need to put student housing here because of the growth of the university.’
“[The second phase] A2 was kind of a test, to see if there was a luxury apartment need in Glassboro,” Abbruzzese said. “We weren’t sure at the time, but now we don’t even know how deep the market is, because I get two or three calls a day for those apartments. People want to be close to the student area.”
In 2015, A2 delivered as one building, 220 Rowan Blvd., with 456 student beds on floors two through five, and 57 market-rate apartments on floors five and six — a nonstandard approach to merging a student population with the greater community.
Courtesy: Nexus Properties
An overhead shot of Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro, N.J.
“I have tenants who’ve moved from the mixed-use [building] to the stand-alone, but there was no issue about living among students. They have their own private elevator,” Abbruzzese said. “We have only had positive comments related to living among students in this environment.”
A part of what attracts non-students to the area, and a huge factor in its walkability, is the 70K SF of retail that has been built, with 18K SF more to come. About half of it is food and beverage, with some medical usage and a 17K SF fitness center, operated by Rowan as an extension of its on-campus facility. There is also a 7K SF office portion in A3 that is all but fully leased to a non-Rowan user, which will be a first for the project.
When Rowan Boulevard broke ground in 2009, Rowan University named Sora Northeast as the master developer. But when it came time to build parking garages, Nexus stepped in as master developer and has been in that role since, even though it had never built multifamily or mixed-use properties before. The Enterprise Center, with Rowan classrooms and offices above ground-floor retail, was Nexus’ first, completed in 2013 in front of the complex’s first garage.
Although Rowan Boulevard has all that retail for everyone in the community to enjoy, plus a new 1.75-acre town square for Glassboro, the university is clearly a dominant presence in the area. Bridging the main campus with the center of Glassboro will have the effect of a walkable downtown, but it also populates that walk with students and faculty, some of whom rent the market-rate apartments.
“My opinion — and I think folks around me, their opinion — is that every day, we’re becoming a quintessential college town,” Abbruzzese said. “Every day, we add another piece to the project and rent it to Rowan, and it means we are becoming a college town.”
In 2018, Nexus will complete the final piece of Rowan Boulevard: the three buildings that will make up A4. Like A3, two will house students (with 604 beds) and a third will contain 20 market-rate apartments. All of it will sit above 18K SF of retail, with the whole of A4 set to cost $75M. By the time it is finished, continuous commercial development will line the walk from Rowan University’s main campus and downtown Glassboro, linking them for good.
220 Rowan Boulevard received the Leading Public-Private Economic Development Partnership Award at the 2017 Annual Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development.
The Leading Economic Development Award recognizes an alliance between a New Jersey-based business that has teamed up with the state, a community, or local economic development organization to advance the redevelopment of downtowns, and enhance the quality of life for residents. The partnership should advance the sate’s overall vision for building tomorrow’s living and working communities. This award was given to 220 ROWAN BOULEVARD, located in Glassboro. This project is a key component in the borough’s downtown redevelopment and features 28,000 square feet of medical space, 20,000 square feet of retail space, and student and market-rate apartments. The new six-story building occupies formerly dilapidated downtown real estate, and is part of a $425 million project linking the Rowan University campus with Glassboro’s retail district, creating a traditional college town and walkable community, and promoting smart growth. The project partners are Nexus Properties, the Borough of Glassboro, Rowan University, Blackney Hayes Architects and M&T Bank.
Upon completion, Rowan Boulevard will include student beds, classroom space, a hotel, fitness center, parking garages and 144,000 square feet of retail space. (Image courtesy of Nexus Properties)
GLASSBORO, N.J. — Nexus Properties has signed five new retail tenants to the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment, a mixed-use project in Glassboro.
The goal of the $400 million, multi-phase project is to link the Rowan University campus with Glassboro’s downtown retail district. The new tenants bring restaurant, shopping and fitness options to downtown and include Alicia DiMichele Boutique, Tech Zone, Six Pack Training, Cookie Munchers and Mexican Mariachi Grill. In addition, Rowan Boulevard is home to Chickie & Pete’s, Tony Luke’s and Barnes & Noble Bookstore and Café.
The final phase of the Rowan Boulevard project is under construction and slated for completion in August 2018. Upon completion, the development will include 2,771 student beds, classroom space, 114 apartment units, a hotel, fitness center, two parking garages and 144,000 square feet of retail space.
As students returned to campus last week, many of them were greeted with a new sight: brand new completed construction just past the university bookstore. As part of the new development on Rowan Boulevard, part of the A-3 unit of construction opened Aug. 23 and contains class space for the College of Communication and Creative Arts as well as residential space and a brand new fitness center for Rowan students.
Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe is thrilled with the progress made so far in construction and said that the new development was an essential part of turning the downtown space into a real college town.
“It’s a key portion of our downtown redevelopment,” McCabe said. “The partnership of Rowan University, the Nexus construction company, and the town [of Glassboro] has continued to flourish.”
Contained in the A-3 complex is the recently opened 230 Victoria Street, as well as the Mick Drive parking garage and 223 West High Street. These three structures will be joined by Park Place South, a soon to be opened four-story residential and shopping area.
But for students heading down to the new development, one of the main draws is the new recreational fitness center. Dan Scripter, the assistant director of fitness services at the center said that the new exercise space on the ground floor of the Victoria Street location was intended to improve one specific aspect of student life on that side of campus.
“We wanted to make things easier and more accessible for students, and especially since they’re moving to these apartments we want to be a centralized location,” Scripter said.
Added Scripter, “We just wanted to increase our offerings [and] make ourselves a better option for students. We knew that the Rec Center was getting crowded, so we just wanted to further our impact on student development.”
Niko McCardle is one of the students using the new fitness center. And for the senior public relations and advertising major, convenience is the best thing in his opinion about the new construction.
“It’s a lot easier because all my classes are up there so I can just come down here and work out so I don’t have to walk to the other side of campus,” McCardle said. “It’s a lot bigger and honestly, there’s more stuff to do. If you’re really into lifting, it’ll definitely help you progress faster than the other Rec Center could.”
GLASSBORO – Barnes & Noble was once an island on Rowan Boulevard. The bookstore — selling Rowan University textbooks and swag — was the first to go up less than a decade ago.
Seven years later, the massive two-story bookstore isn’t so easy to pick out of the downtown Glassboro landscape. It blends perfectly with the half-dozen buildings that sprang up around it since it opened in 2010.
Wednesday, five more buildings opened on Rowan Boulevard, a public-private partnership between the borough and Rowan University.
A 935-space parking garage on Mick Drive is the second garage to open on the strip.
Four more buildings expand classroom and student housing space for the university, increasing the number of student beds by 557 in two buildings — 230 Victoria and 223 High — where students will live starting in September.
A third residential building — Park Place South — houses 37 market-rate luxury apartments overlooking the newly built Glassboro Town Square. All but eight Park Place South units are leased, according to Ronda Abbruzzese, vice president of marketing for Nexus Properties, the company constructing the buildings and managing the properties.
A 30,000-square foot building — 260 Victoria — increases Rowan’s learning space with seven classrooms totaling 210 seats, plus 48 new offices for the university’s writing arts and communication students departments.
“I’m thoroughly impressed every day with how quickly these buildings go up,” Abbruzzese said.
The new building cluster — all a mix of residential and retail space — were completed in 16 months. 220 Rowan Boulevard, a housing and retail building opened in 2016, went up in just 14 months, according to Abbruzzese.
The cluster cost $110 million, Nexus reported.
“We wanted to give the community the feel of a college town,” state Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“When I pulled up today, that’s exactly what it felt like.”
Construction on the final phase of Rowan Boulevard went on behind the state Senate president as he spoke from the podium. The last piece of the boulevard is expected to open in July 2018.
The ceremonial opening of the buildings — called the “A3” phase of construction — is the second -to-last piece of the puzzle for the 26-acre plot Glassboro set aside to redevelop the downtown zone. More than 90 houses — including many belonging to fraternities and sororities — were razed to make room for the project.
“I joined this university in 2006, and let’s just say this town was not the most impressive-looking town in the neighborhood,” Rowan University President Ali Houshmand recalled.
“We were a very small institution, not very well known, even in Philadelphia. … I never expected from a small town, a sleepy-type town, a suburb of Philadelphia, would be one of the leaders.”
Glassboro, the university president said, “will be a glorious town.”
Joined by New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand, and Gloucester County Freeholder Heather Simmons, Nexus Properties celebrated the official ribbon cutting of the largest phase of Rowan Boulevard, known as A3.
The A3 development – part of Glassboro’s transformative multi-phase redevelopment called Rowan Boulevard – is composed a unique mix of luxury student and market-rate apartments, retail and office space, state-of-the-art classrooms and a multi-level parking garage. The opening represents perhaps the most significant milestone to date in the $400-million “public-public-private” development initiative, which has already established a magnetic, inter-generational town center serving to even more closely link the burgeoning Glassboro community and Rowan University, one of the fastest-growing institutions in the nation.
The A3 phase includes:
230 Victoria, a six-story, 195,000-square-foot building, which includes 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 Street, a four-story, 70,000-square-foot building, which includes 144 student beds and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space
Park Place South, a four-story, 70,000-square-foot building, which includes 37 luxury apartments – available to non-students – 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 Street, and Park Place South
In total, the A3 development encompasses more than 336,000 square feet across four acres, serving as a direct extension of the already-bustling Rowan Boulevard, which anchors Glassboro’s emerging downtown.
“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 Nexus Properties’ COO Dante Germano. “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.”
A3’s new student and luxury residences are located just steps from Glassboro’s newly opened Town Square, along with Rowan Boulevard’s myriad dining and shopping options, including the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore and the newly opened Chickie & Pete’s restaurant. The project continues an innovative model in which private developers, led by Nexus Properties, have joined with Rowan University and the Borough of Glassboro to conceive a city-style walkable hub that serves both as a nucleus for the university and a destination for surrounding residents.
“I stand proudly with my fellow Council members in celebrating the completion of this phase of the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project.” said Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe. “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.”
Students living on Rowan Boulevard have access to a rare combination of quality design and proximity to campus. Each new residence offers “suite-style” living, with an amenity package akin to today’s most in-demand luxury living options, including: A state-of-the-art fitness center, free Fios wi-fi, package concierge, spacious community lounge areas, stainless steel appliances, full size washers and dryers, and 42-inch smart TVs in each room. Students also have access to indoor parking for cars and bicycles.
The new student residences open during a period of immense growth for Rowan University. As the region’s leading public research university, Rowan’s enrollment has grown by more than 7,000 since 2011 to enroll more than 18,000 students this fall. While distinguished as one of only two institutions in the nation with medical schools granting both M.D. and D.O. degrees and ranked as a Carnegie-classified research university, Rowan remains dedicated to undergraduate higher education, with students’ residence life a critical part of the undergraduate experience. 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,” said Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University. “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.”
While Rowan Boulevard’s continued realization has undoubtedly been a boon for Rowan University, it has also proven to be a magnet for residents and professionals throughout the region. Retailers at Rowan Boulevard are open year-round, offering an assortment of restaurants, shops, health & beauty services, and more. Additionally, demand has been strong for the development’s non-student luxury apartments, as more than 30 of Park Place South’s 37 apartments have already been leased. In 2015, Nexus Properties opened 220 Rowan Boulevard, a 316,000-square foot mixed-use building which includes retail, medical facilities, student housing, and 57 luxury apartments; each of its non-student apartments are fully occupied.
A3 represents the second-to-last component of the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project, which is composed of four core phases spanning through 2018.
Angelo’s Diner hasn’t changed much since it was built in 1951. “We still don’t take credit cards,” Mary Ann Justice, the owner, says.
But through the classic diner’s windows along North Main Street in Glassboro, the view is dramatically different from decades past: A stylish park where a nuisance bar and an abandoned gas station once stood is flanked by the sleek mid-rise, mixed-use buildings of the Rowan Boulevard project.
The $350 million effort aims to create, from scratch, a new downtown with a boulevard that bridges the gap between the growing Rowan University campus along Route 322 and the borough’s vintage commercial center at Main and High Streets. The idea is to bolster town and gown together.
When completed in 2018, the ambitious redevelopment project will include one million square feet of commercial, institutional, and residential space, including apartment suites for nearly 4,200 students. A grand opening for the three latest buildings is set for Wednesday, Aug. 23.
“It’s one of the most important steps toward making Glassboro a true college town,” says Mayor Leo McCabe.
Anyone familiar with the faded array of commercial and residential buildings that formerly occupied the 26-acre site will likely be impressed by the transformation that began in 2009. The boulevard and the spruced-up area around Main and High reflect the expansion and evolution of the formerly rural campus over the last 25 years.
“Glassboro went from being a sleepy town to a much livelier town,” says Jim Nagle, an Angelo’s regular.
But Christine Maxwell and some other business owners along East and West High Streets are concerned that brand-name restaurants and a higher-end ambience will make Rowan Boulevard an island unto itself, with little impact on the working-class downtown.
“I’d like to see more traffic from the college kids,” says Maxwell, whose Ms. Chrissy’s Sweet Cafe opened on East High three years ago.
“There’s a shuttle bus from the college, but it stops at the corner of Main and doesn’t come down this part of High Street,” she adds.
“Business along here was better in the ’90s,” says Marvin Johnson, the proprietor of Marvin’s Haircuts, a fixture on East High for 26 years.
Says Mark Lovallo, who owns a West High restaurant called Little Beef’s: “The proof is not in the pudding yet.”
The goal of the project, a partnership among the borough, the university, and the real estate firm Nexus Properties, “is to make the town, not just Rowan Boulevard, a destination,” says Ronda Abbruzzese, vice president of marketing at Nexus.
The contrast between old and new is dramatic: the handsome boulevard with its urban, if not quite urbane, feel, and small-town High and Main Streets, with their low-slung buildings, traditional businesses, and empty spaces. The task of making them into a single cohesive place remains very much a work in progress.
“It looks nice, but there are a lot of empty storefronts,” says Ian McKane, 21, a senior civil and environmental engineering student from Gloucester Township. He paused to chat while moving into one of the student apartment suites.
Around downtown, some of the decorative directional signs seem rather aspirational: Some point the way to a “Theater district” that includes an empty lot where the long-vacant Roxy movie theater was torn down in 2013.
“High Street is critical,” Rowan president Ali A. Houshmand says. “There are lots of plans for an arts and culture district, for major investment, along High Street.”
The Rowan University Art Gallery opened at the corner of West High and Mick Drive about two years ago, and the university hopes to develop a mixed-use building to house its radio, television, and film department — and possibly a movie theater — along the street, says Houshmand.
Much as early plans for the boulevard inspired skepticism (“We’ve since changed the perception,” Abbruzzese insists), some of the stakeholders along High Street have questions about the future.
Diana L. Pierce, a fifth-generation Glassboro resident and a trustee of the Heritage Glass Museum, a landmark on East High, says some supporters of the institution “are concerned about preserving it, which is reasonable because other structures deemed historic don’t exist anymore” in the borough.
And while ACE Screen Printing & Embroidery owner Adam Szyfman is heartened by an improvement in public safety (“Like night and day”) and an increase in “college-related” pedestrian traffic outside his West High business, he worries about parking and traffic.
While far from complete, or perfect, the project strikes me as skillful and savvy about what it takes to make a place where people want to be.
And a group of collaborators capable of pulling off something of this magnitude surely can find a way to, say, make sure the student shuttle bus serves the entire heart of Glassboro — and that all businesses have a chance to benefit from the expanded potential customer base the boulevard provides.
“I like the park,” says Justice, standing behind the counter at Angelo’s with her husband, Jim, and looking out at Rowan Boulevard. “I like what they’re doing.”
The beliefs of its founder, Sydney Sussman, primed Nexus Properties to undertake the reimagining of downtown Glassboro, N.J.
For most developers, a project is a market opportunity. It’s a calculation of the investment cost, time and potential. That’s all true of Nexus Properties’ mixed use, redevelopment project in Glassboro, N.J., but the projects also have a more personal connection to COO and CFO Dante Germano. Germano grew up Glassboro – Nexus is renting office space in his uncle’s former bakery during the project – and he sees the development as a chance to revitalize his hometown.
It is through Germano’s background that Nexus came to the project. Even as his career took him away from Glassboro, Germano kept in touch with many of the borough’s leaders and area officials. So when another developer ran into problems seeing the town’s downtown redevelopment masterplan through to completion, Glassboro asked Nexus to take over the project in 2011.
The Senate and General Assembly, State House, Trenton, NJ, and Members of the New Jersey Legislature, on behalf of the citizens of the Garden State, extended congratulations to Nexus Properties which has been selected by the residents of Gloucester County as the Best Developers in the annual Best of Gloucester County contest of the year 2017. The Legislature extended their sincere best wishes for continued success and vigor in the years ahead.
On June 1, 2017, the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce proclaimed Nexus Properties has been selected by the residents of Gloucester County in the category for the “Best Developer”. Nexus has been recognized as an essential component of the Gloucester County economy.
Thank you residents of Gloucester County for this humbling accolade.
Nexus Properties was proud to co-receive the 2017 Smart Growth Award presented by New Jersey Future with supporting partners Woodmont Properties, the Borough of Metuchen, Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, and the Metuchen Parking Authority for their TRANSIT-ORIENTED RETAIL and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT and a NEW PUBLIC PLAZA ADJACENT TO METUCHEN STATION.
Nexus successfully financed, designed and constructed a multi-level parking structure containing 769 parking spaces. Located in the heart of downtown Metuchen, the garage provides short and long term parking for residents, local businesses, commuters, and visitors. The garage also provides parking for the residents of Woodmont Metro.
Nexus provided the following services in connection with the Pearl Street Parking Garage project:
Financing (P3 – Public/Private Partnership)
Design and Approvals
Parking Management and Equipment Specifications and Implementation
Interim Parking for Commuters during construction and prior to opening
The New Jersey Alliance for Action’s “New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Projects” award program was created to highlight innovative, pioneering and landmark construction initiatives that greatly impact the state’s economy and to honor the business and organizations that work together as partners to ensure the project’s success. The Rowan Boulevard Phase A-3 project is a great example of what can be done when organizations work as a team to develop a fantastic project. – Philip K. Beachem, President, NJ Alliance for Action
We were honored that Nexus Properties was selected to receive the “New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Project” award on February 10, 2017 in honor of our work on the Rowan Boulevard Phase A-3 Project.
For more than 50 years, the Southern New Jersey Development Council at its annual Distinguished Achievement Awards Receptionhas honored outstanding individuals, organizations and companies in the public and private sectors for their leadership in economic development in the southern eight counties of New Jersey.
In recognition of Nexus’ vision, leadership and commitment to the growth and development of the Borough of Glassboro and Rowan University, through the Rowan Boulevard Project, the Southern New Jersey Development Council honored Nexus with the 2016 Economic Impact Award.
The Rowan Boulevard Redevelopment project stands as a grand example of what public-private partnerships can do-not only reinvigorate a community but also become a catalyst for economic growth that attracts new investors, creates hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs, provides steady tax ratables to the community and raises the profile of a University, which in turn has an additional cascading economic impact on the entire state.
Nexus’ more than $300-million investment on Rowan Boulevard, which includes the construction of the Enterprise Center (academic building and parking garage), 220 Rowan Boulevard (residential, retail and health care complex), a second parking garage and two more residential/academic/retail buildings, serves as a model of collaborative redevelopment and smart growth.
We are fortunate to have Nexus Properties as part of our business community.
Marlene Z. Asselta, President/Southern NJ Development Council
Thomas X. Geisel/SNJDC Chairman
Frank Jones, Reception Chairman/Partner, Mints Insurance Agency
Dante Germano, COO/CFO of Nexus Properties received the 2015 Business Person of the Year Awardat the 11th Annual Gloucester County Chamber of CommerceCommunity Service Awards dinner on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.
The Annual Community Service Awards are a way for the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce to recognize the business and community leaders of Gloucester County who volunteer their time and resources selflessly throughout the year to make the county a better place to live, work, learn, and do business.
The mission of the Chamber is to be a leader and unified voice in creating a positive economic and civic climate in Gloucester County, resulting in growth and prosperity for business.