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PISCATAWAY, NJ-Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has a proposal on the table to turn an unused 44-acre site adjacent to its Livingston College campus here into a mixed-use town center. The university has its main campus across the Raritan River in New Brunswick and other satellite campuses in Newark and Camden.

The proposed College Town carries an estimated price tag of $100 million, according to Karen Kavanaugh, EVP of administrative affairs for the university. Preliminary plans for the project, which is located near both Rutgers Stadium and the Louis Brown Athletic Center, call for 650 rental apartments and townhomes in three- and four-story buildings, with about two-thirds of them designated for student use. About one-third of them would be market rate and 80 units would be designated as affordable housing.

The early plan also calls for approximately 100,000 sf of commercial space, about half of which would be small-shop convenience retail and the rest designated for university-related use. The entire project would be laid out on a street grid to create a small-town feeling, according to university officials.

Rutgers has hired Yaffee Prescott Architecture and EDAW Inc. of New York City to flesh out the project’s conceptual plans. Ernst & Young is also studying the financials of College Town at the behest of the university.

Once the university has its approvals in place, it will put the project up for bid among private developers, according to Kavanaugh. A two-year build-out is projected.

Approvals must come from the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, which would issue bonds to help pay for the project. The Township of Piscataway is also involved relating to the affordable housing component.

Both Livingston College and the College Town development site are situated on a portion of the sprawling former Camp Kilmer army base, which was shuttered as surplus property more than 40 years ago. Much of the rest of the former Camp Kilmer site has been redeveloped as a mixed-use business park.

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