PRINCETON: Kean University to answer questions about its plans for Michael Graves property

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Famed architect Michael Graves in his Princeton offices with his dog in 2004. Kean University

Representatives of Kean University will be in town Thursday to meet with the community and answer questions about the school’s plans for land on Patton Avenue that Kean had acquired from the estate of famed architect Michael Graves.
The university earlier this year bought the three parcels, including Mr. Graves’ home and studio known as the Warehouse, for $20. Kean, a public university whose main campus is in Union in Union County, is home to the Michael Graves College that is made up of its design and architecture schools.
“Kean has invited residents living near the Warehouse to the reception so that they can get to know us, and we can get to know them,” Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said Tuesday by email. “The university sees the reception as a chance to meet our new neighbors and answer any questions that they may have.”
Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at 44 Patton Ave. Mayor Liz Lempert told reporters earlier this week that she intended to attend, an opportunity for the community “to have a better understanding” of what Kean’s plans are. She said the town had suggested to the university that it have the meeting.
“We want to make sure they have a chance to hear directly from the neighbors about concerns, which, I expect, are going to have to do with traffic impacts, parking impacts,” she said Monday at her press conference. “We definitely want to be encouraging open communications with the neighbors.”
Mayor Lempert said the university has indicated that the Warehouse would be a type of “private museum” for students to see how Mr. Graves lived and worked. Of the two other parcels, one of the homes would remain a residence, while the other would be a place for “occasional lectures,” she said.
“Kean plans to use the property in much the same way that Michael Graves himself used it, with seminars for advanced architecture and design students, salons for key academic leaders and professionals, small conferences, and possibly, brief residential fellowships for leading architects, designers and artists,” Ms. McCorry said.
Mayor Lempert, though, said she is concerned about two of the properties “potentially” coming off the tax rolls.
Mr. Graves, 80, died March 12, 2015. He was a widely regarded architect who designed buildings around the world. He had taught architecture at Princeton University, which had turned down the bequest of the three parcels.