A mixed-use development in North Brunswick is creating a commuter-friendly town center complete with a new train station. Called Main Street North Brunswick and advertised as “Shop. Dine. Ride. Live,” the crux of the new transit village–the train station–has finally been included in this year’s transportation funding bill, which will increase Transit Trust Fund investments this year by $400 million, just as residents and businesses were beginning to wonder if the “Ride.” would ever be a reality.
The transportation funding bill was signed in the New Jersey State Senate just at the end of March this year, but Main Street North Brunswick has been in the works for almost a decade. North Brunswick TOD (Transit Oriented Development) Associates LLC purchased the 212 acres, formerly a Johnson & Johnson plant, along Route 1 in 2006. By 2010, after community workshops and planning, the Transit Oriented Mixed-Use Development Overlay Zone on Route 1 North was created, and by 2012 they had their first approvals.
Jonathan Frieder, a managing partner of Garden Homes Development whose subsidiary is the project developer, said, “This is a hugely ambitious undertaking for the township, the council, the Planning Board and the developer. The township will have a Main Street, which North Brunswick currently doesn’t have. Building a town from scratch hasn’t been done in this magnitude since pre-World War II. It’s a huge project and it’s very important that we get it right.”
Already up and running around the proposed train station are Costco, Target, Panera Bread, The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, and Heights at Main Street–a residential development by Pulte Homes, featuring 158 luxury townhomes.
The new train station at Main Street North Brunswick will be a flyover track to relieve congestion on the Northeast Corridor Line and give residents easy access to New Brunswick, Princeton Junction, Trenton, and New York Penn Station via New Jersey Transit. Currently, there are no stops along the line between Princeton Junction and New Brunswick which is a 14-mile stretch, the largest gap between stations on the Northeast Corridor Line. Mr. Frieder also said, “The residents of Central New Jersey and Middlesex County have had a lack of access to NJ Transit because there is no station in the center of this county. The rail line is already here. You put the platforms on the rail, the parking nearby, and a building and you have a station.”
North Brunswick is also convenient by car to the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Main Street North Brunswick is estimated to be completed by 2026 and more retail, restaurants, apartments, office space, and a hotel are expected. Mayor Francis M. Womack said, “The train station and transit village will position North Brunswick to be a vibrant, responsible community far into the 21st Century.”