East Brunswick Redevelopment Agency awaits proposals for blighted shopping centers

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COURTESY OF THE EAST BRUNSWICK REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY

EAST BRUNSWICK – The East Brunswick Redevelopment Agency has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) and is awaiting responses from redevelopers who would seek to revive areas on Route 18 south.

The RFPs seek to repurpose outdated commercial structures into a modern, transit orientated, mixed use village where residential and commercial uses will blend seamlessly into a new downtown community spanning 30-plus acres parallel to Route 18, according to a statement from the agency.

East Brunswick officials plan to pursue the creation of a third commuter parking structure and an additional bus terminal to support the high demand for non-rail transportation options into New York City, according to the agency.

On Aug. 13, municipal officials formally posted notice of their search for redevelopers to improve and repurpose the blighted 18 Center shopping center (previous home of the Gap and the Wiz) and the outdated Loehmann’s Plaza and surrounding areas.

Those areas represent untapped commercial and mixed use potential less than one mile from a New Jersey Turnpike interchange, according to the agency. Potential redevelopers were asked to respond by Oct. 18.

For those interested in submitting a redevelopment proposal, there will be an optional information session during which a presentation will be provided and questions answered by the agency’s professionals at 10 a.m. Sept. 5 at the East Brunswick Community Arts Center, 721 Cranbury Road.

Over the last 18 months, East Brunswick officials have taken action to demonstrate the township’s commitment to improving the Route 18 corridor. A redevelopment agency with five public members who are professionals in the development and financial fields was launched, according to the statement.

The redevelopment agency is led by East Brunswick Councilman James Wendell, a developer, assisted by James Kennedy, who as the mayor of Rahway pioneered transit-oriented redevelopment projects throughout central New Jersey, according to the statement.

“This is an exciting time for East Brunswick and the East Brunswick Redevelopment Agency. If not for the bold steps taken by Mayor Brad Cohen to form the agency and use the tools allowable under state guidelines for redevelopment, we would never have been able to reach this point,” Wendell said in the statement.

“We are on the cusp of turning these vacant and blighted properties into valuable revenue-producing assets that will benefit all stakeholders, from the existing retail community along the Route 18 corridor to the East Brunswick commuter as well as all residents of East Brunswick. I am very eager to see the proposals on Oct. 18,” he said.

The RFPs are for Redevelopment Area 2A (Loehmann’s Plaza and the surrounding area) and Redevelopment Area 3A (18 Central shopping center and the surrounding area). Interested parties may submit their ideas and vision for one area, both areas, or join with other respondents on their responses, according to the agency.

Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].