"What's truly exciting is the realization that we've come fullcircle," says Christopher J. Paladino, president of the NewBrunswick Development Corp., who unveiled the plans with Mayor JimCahill. "A generation ago, the renovation of the State Theatre andcreation of our other theaters set the stage for the incredibleeconomic revitalization that New Brunswick has experienced. We nowhave the opportunity to use that success to reinvest in thearts."

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The centerpiece tower of what's being called the New BrunswickCulture Center would have theater- and arts-related uses on itslower two floors, including new 499- and 250-seat theaters thatwould replace the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre,which would be demolished. The 87-year-old State Theatre,originally built for vaudeville and silent films, would berenovated.

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The next dozen stories up would be consist of 300,000 sf ofoffice with 25,000-sf floor plates. And the top 20 stories would beset back and contain condos and apartments, bringing the totalbuilding size to approximately 600,000 sf. Onsite parking would beunderground.

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The arts portion of the site, estimated to cost $44 million to$50 million, would be completed with the help of corporate funding,and officials say they're already talking to a number ofprospective contributors and building occupants. Naming rights arealso on the table, and state tax credits of up to $75 million are apossible draw for tenants in the wake of recent legislation inTrenton tied to investment near transit hubs.

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"We are able to create new performance venues due to theeconomic model of the project," Paladino says. "The office andcondominium towers provide the financial foundation for the artsand public space components. And the project qualifies for therecently enacted Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program."

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Demolition of the existing smaller theaters could come as soonas 2009, under current plans, with the new construction takingabout two years to build. Projected completion would be late 2011or early 2012, if all goes according to plans.

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The State, George Street and Crossroads theaters would be basedon-site, with the latter two occupying the two new smallerauditoriums. The New Brunswick Cultural Center would also be hometo the American Repertory Ballet and Rutgers University's MasonGross School of the Arts.

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