Construction Underway for Major Development Near Kean University

Vermella Union New Jersey Mixed Use For Rent
Now under construction: Vermella Union, a major mixed-used development near Kean University in Union, New Jersey. Rendering via RIPCO Real Estate.

For decades, riders on Raritan Valley Line trains passed a tall smokestack that read “Schering” just east of Union Station opposite the Kean University campus. The towering structure was just one part of a massive 25-building pharmaceutical campus that was used not only by Schering, but also by its successor companies: Schering-Plough and Merck. However, the days of drug research and manufacturing on these 60 acres are history. In recent months, the site has been filled with construction crews as work gets underway for the township’s largest mixed-use development project in years.

When finished, the entire project, which is being branded as Vermella Union, is expected to include 1,264 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. All apartments in the development will be rentals and the first phase of Vermella Union will feature 462 units, according to a legal notice. Eight of these apartments are expected to be designated as “affordable housing.”

Vermella Union New Jersey Mixed Use For Rent 2
Vermella Union. Rendering via RIPCO Real Estate.

Renderings of the project released in a video from Russo Development show that Vermella Union will consist of around eight residential buildings, along with walkways, parking, and a fountain. In addition to the residential portion of the development, the southeastern corner will feature a complex called the Shoppes at Vermella Union with 40,207 square feet of retail space. A listing from Ripco Real Estate states that there will be three commercial buildings for stores and restaurants.

Vermella Union New Jersey Mixed Use For Rent 3
Vermella Union. Rendering via RIPCO Real Estate.

The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019 or in 2020, according to Vermella’s website, and will also include a clubhouse, a pool, a basketball court, and a fitness center. Its construction comes as Russo is developing other Vermella communities in the region, including one with nearly 300 units close to the Raritan Valley Line station in nearby Garwood.

In addition to this property, a neighboring lot could become the site of future development. Margaret McCorry of Kean told Jersey Digs last year that the rear portion of 1011 Morris Avenue was acquired by the university for $4.225 million through settlement negotiation. While parking is planned initially, the site is slated to eventually contain academic and research facilities along with housing for faculty and graduate students.


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    • Ridiculous? No, it’s exactly what Union needs. We need to stop catering to the low income and actually improve the town by attracting young professionals with a safe area to eventually raise children and dine out around town. We all benefit from the added safety and amenities that comes along with it. Right now 80% of the town is afraid to even eat locally or walk around town at night… or simply go to other towns to do so. Union needs to improve and it needs to improve quickly. Period.

      Building a housing project by Kean isn’t the answer. There are plenty of low income apartments in elizabeth if needed.

  1. No one actually wants affordable housing in their community. And the developers use it as a pawn to get approval for mass over development.

  2. Who would want affordable housing anywhere? Look at nycha in NYC. That’s what happens when you give shit away for free. No appreciation and what they gave you becomes shit because you didn’t pay for it.

  3. There are some good in affordable housing and I think there should be more like 25-30 units. My boyfriend and I are both college graduates from Cranford. The way apartments cost these days, it makes it hard to find safe, affordable, nice apartments in areas we grew up in and to stay close to family. Not everyone in my generation would devalue a place that gives us so many benefits in the bigger picture.


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