There is a saying in the development world: “wherever the nationis going, New Jersey will get there first.” New Jersey is thelocation of the nation’s first suburban subdivision, some of itsearliest shopping malls and its oldest highway networks. Now, theGarden State is once again serving as a model--this time for a newmetro-burban hybrid that offers residential buyers the convenienceand excitement of urban living, but in a suburban setting.

|

Concerned about the rising cost of fuel and the impact of theircarbon footprints, New Jerseyans are increasingly seeking outdevelopments in small suburban cities that satisfy the emotionalcraving for urban life, but in an attractive suburban setting.

|

Because of our suburban nature, New Jersey promises to serve asa model of the metro-burban hybrid. New residentialdevelopments--often with retail, office or hotel/conferencecomponents--are going up in small cities such as Montclair,Morristown, New Brunswick and Princeton that are restoring streetlife, creating a sense of vibrancy and spontaneity.

|

In addition to their denser urban feel, these developments alsooffer the convenience of urban living--residents have no need, forinstance, to drive for a quart of milk--at the same time that theyoffer a comforting sense of community, which may be rare in a moreurban setting.

|

Stasse & Co. is representing two such developments, theResidences at the Heldrich in New Brunswick and the Residences atPalmer Square in Princeton. Both are in high demand from buyersseeking alternatives to single-family homes, as well as tocondominiums in large cities.

|

The fact that this metro-burban model has proven so successfulis no surprise: the division of the landscape into separate regionsfor living, shopping and working is the result of the growth ofsuburban living. With increasing highway congestion, prospectivebuyers are eager to return to a downtown model similar to thebazaars, marketplaces and town centers where human beings havecongregated for millennia.

|

The Residences at Palmer Square is a particularly illustrativeexample. The design draws its inspiration from Williamsburg, VA,the capital of the budding nation’s most influential colony, wherevillage life--including residences, workshops, pubs and civicamenities--centered around a village green. This idealized visionof a colonial village was at the heart of the Colonial Revivalmovement that dominated the national aesthetic from the 1880sthrough the 1940s.

|

Palmer Square was the dream of zinc magnate Edgar Palmer, who in1929, inspired by the restoration of colonial Williamsburg,envisioned a similar town center for Princeton, NJ. No sooner hadhe started work than the stock market crashed. In 1932, however, herealized his dream for a town center anchored by the historicNassau Inn. The residential part of Palmer’s vision, however,remained largely unfulfilled until the recent construction of theproperty.

|

The Residences consists of 100 luxury townhomes and condominiumsin the heart of Palmer Square. Residents can walk to the more than40 shops, restaurants and specialty food stores of Palmer Square,as well as the cultural and intellectual offerings of the Boroughof Princeton and of Princeton University, which is located on theopposite side of Nassau Street, Princeton’s main thoroughfare, fromPalmer Square. In addition, they can walk to the train toManhattan.

|

We are returning to a lifestyle model that Edgar Palmerenvisioned more than 80 years ago, a model that has served theneeds of humanity from time immemorial. As during the ColonialRevival, which was a period of rapid industrialization, the nationis once again undergoing rapid change, this time to apost-industrial economy. And once again, we are taking our cues onhow to live from the past.

|

Jodi Stasee is president of Pennington, NJ-based Stasse& Co. The views expressed here are the author'sown.

|

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.