November 30, 2006

Video to detail plan to redevelop J&J site in North Brunswick


The developer of the North Brunswick Johnson & Johnson site is expected to continue its campaign to get the redevelopment project approved with the unveiling tonight of an informational video.

Township residents are invited to attend the workshop at the Route 1 property to discuss plans for a transit village including new homes on the site by developer TOD Associates. Ideas raised at previous meetings are also expected to be reviewed.

"Our vision is the community's vision," said Jonathan Frieder, a managing partner at TOD Associates. "We are providing a forum for a more transparent process."
Another community forum is set for Dec. 7 to highlight the financial impact of a transit village and proposed layouts for the property, Frieder said.

The developer bought the property from Johnson & Johnson for an undisclosed amount in June and has been holding public workshops to get residents' input since February.
The plant, which shut down in 2003, is a sprawling 220-acre tract of warehouses, office buildings, meadows and trees.

The developer has proposed a train station for the Northeast Corridor rail line on the site. It has presented different options for the property's layout that would address traffic base on its location next to busy Route 1.

Frieder said the new development would stay on the existing footprint of the Johnson & Johnson plant and would not use any open space.

But township officials and residents have raised concerns about the amount of housing that TOD Associates plans to build in the property and whether it would bring more children to the overcrowded school system.

Frieder said the plans do not include exact figures for high-density units to be built.
Mayor Francis "Mac" Womack said the public should take the opportunity at the open sessions to comment on the future of the site.

TOD Associates is part of Short Hills-based Garden Commercial Properties. The Wilf family, major contributors to the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, own Garden Commercial Properties, a subsidiary of Garden Homes.

Today's meeting will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Johnson & Johnson's Yellowbird Reception Center, 2300 Route 1 at Aaron Road. The Dec. 7 meeting is slated for the same time and place.