TCNJ launches Campus Town in new public/private partnership

The College of New Jersey officials announced the opening of the first-of-its-kind housing and retail complex allowed by New Jersey’s 2009 Economic Stimulus Act. The college hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on its campus in Ewing Wednesday for the new Campus Town.

Campus Town sits between the verdant campus and Ewing’s quiet residential streets. The $120 million development, which is still in progress, will be able to offer 130 new apartments to its students this fall semester. The complex’s Barnes & Noble college bookstore opened on Aug. 3. Additional restaurants and stores will be part of the complex, too.

“Campus Town enhances the living-learning environment at TCNJ, provides much needed student housing, and offers amenities to our neighbors in Ewing,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “Thanks to our public-private partnership with The PRC Group, it was built without any tuition or public dollars.”

It’s this aspect that state, city and college officials were highlighting during Wednesday’s ceremony. The state 2009 Stimulus Act allows public colleges and universities to use private developers not only to build but to manage facilities on campus. In this case, The developer, The PRC Group invested the money, built seven apartment buildings with commercial space, and will operate the complex as a for-profit business. Only TCNJ students can rent an apartment, but the restaurants and stores will be open to all.

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Greg Lentine, Director of University Campus Development with The PRC Group, said it’s a win-win approach for the school. “This is a great way for the college to get what they need at zero cost to the taxpayers and zero cost to the college.”

Lentine said over the next year a number of businesses are planning to open:

Red Berry Frozen Yogurt (Sept.)
Piccolo Pronto (Oct.)
Spencer Savings Bank (Oct.)
Mexican Mariachi Grill (Nov.)
Panera Bread (Early 2016)
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
Verizon Wireless
Yummy Sushi
Polished Nails salon

Visitors to TCNJ will notice an area still under construction. This is phase two of the project, which will add 54 more apartment units.


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