Over the weekend, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced via Twitter the next phase of development on NJCU’s University Place project. The University and Strategic Development Group are planning to break ground early next year on University PAC, a 500-seat, state-of-the-art theater, and the Center for Music, Dance and Theater, a cutting-edge academic complex for instruction in the performing arts.
This is the Performing Arts Theater that will start construction on West Side Ave in early 2019 as part of the @NJCUniversity expansion. We worked hard w/NJCU to get moving + It’ll be transformational. 500 seat theater, classrooms, student housing, 2 restaurants + market housing pic.twitter.com/N7u46tI7DH
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) November 3, 2018
The Center and University PAC will be the flagship and centerpiece of University Place and will serve both NJCU and the community at large.
According to a release, a world-renowned ballet school has expressed its strong desire to move its operations to NJCU at these proposed new facilities and has been collaborating with the NJCU administration and faculty to offer its students and NJCU students a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance.
Anthony V. Bastardi, Chairman and CEO of Strategic Development Group is credited as the mastermind behind University Place.
“For years, these properties have been underutilized,” explained Bastardi, who holds an undergraduate degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and a master’s from Columbia University. “I’m the big picture guy on these projects. Quite often, university leadership does not have the time nor experience to focus on underutilized real assets. When I look at land, I don’t see what is. I see what can be.”
Through his firm, Strategic Development Group (SDG), he has provided the creative spark to envision and then deliver projects such as NJCU’s School of Business on the Jersey City waterfront, NJCU’s University Place subdivision, and most recently, the NJCU Monmouth satellite campus in Oceanport. In 2009, Bastardi worked with Saint Peter’s University to develop the Mac Mahon Student Center
When finished, the 22-acre University Place will feature retail, commercial, and residential components that will generate ratables for the city, as well as university facilities including a residence hall; the new University PAC and Center for Music, Dance and Theater; and outdoor performance space. The goal of the $400 million plan is to create a “college town” atmosphere, according to Bastardi.
Last spring, Rivet, a 163-unit mixed-use rental building opened to new residents. A Five Guys restaurant is the first of five retailers that will open soon in the building’s commercial space.