All the pieces are in place for construction to begin on the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, a theater project that will feature dedicated rehearsal studios, 30,000-square feet of academic and office space, and 207 residential apartments in a 20-story tower. The $167 million plan will be developed on the site of the existing George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theater Company on Livingston Avenue, both of which are scheduled to be demolished this month.
The PAC itself will include two theaters, the first of which will sport 465 seats and an 86-foot stage and an orchestra pit that is designed to accommodate musicals, drama, dance, and opera. A smaller theater will seat 253 people and is designed for theatrical performances, smaller dance acts, lectures, and musical events.
The initiative will also include the construction of a new 350-space garage facility on a current Bayard Street parking lot. Rutgers University will be a partial owner of the PAC facility and is chipping in $17 million towards the construction.
The project, expected to officially break ground this Fall, is a public-private partnership between Devco, The City of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Brunswick Cultural Center, Rutgers University, Pennrose Properties, and The New Brunswick Parking Authority.
Devco, short for New Brunswick Development Corporation, is a non-profit that has participated in over $1.5 billion in real estate investment, much of it coming in their hometown. Their most recently completed project was the College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative – a $330 million, 660,000 square foot redevelopment initiative that transformed 10 acres of Rutgers’ historic College Avenue campus into new housing, academic buildings, and a public green space called The Yard.
Devco says the New Brunswick PAC should be completed by July 2019 and will be open for the fall semester that year, when Rutgers’ Mason Gross School for the Arts will launch their musical theater program at the facility.
While New Brunswick is one of the oldest cities in New Jersey, it has gotten a modern facelift in recent years. Devco’s Wellness Plaza and Gateway Transit Village both added some retail and apartments to the city in 2012, and Boraie Development’s The Aspire rental community opened in 2015.