Growing Business, Creating Jobs
by Heather Simmons, Gloucester County Freeholder
Downtown Glassboro launches into its next phase of revitalization this fall, as Rowan Boulevard’s second mixed-use building including Rowan Graduate College, a multi-tier parking structure and Marriott Courtyard Hotel projects all get underway. The $300 million redevelopment project is the largest municipal construction project in the state. Made possible through public-private partnership among the Borough, Rowan University and private developers, Rowan Boulevard and the accompanying downtown redevelopment are growing business, creating jobs, and generate ratables despite the challenge of the economy.
The vision for Rowan Boulevard is one where high-quality businesses and restaurants create a destination for residents, students and visitors in a livable, walkable downtown setting. It is the ultimate in smart growth, and the epitome of a college town.
The new mixed-use building, located just north of the Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore on Rowan Boulevard, will include about 10,000 sq. ft. of first-floor retail space. Floors two through five will house Rowan University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE). A multi-tier parking garage with 1,194 spaces will be built behind the CGCE building for use by hotel guests, student residents and visitors to Rowan Boulevard.
Rowan’s CGCE is a 12-month operation that will bring young professionals and graduate students downtown all hours of the day, every day of the week, boosting economic activity for downtown merchants.
Retailers locating in the new mixed-use building will be frequented by a large captive audience, with 280 students living in the Whitney Center across the street, another 884 students in housing at the top of Rowan Boulevard, approximately 12,000 students and staff from the Rowan campus, and 20,000 residents of Glassboro.
As Rowan Boulevard’s second mixed-use building, CGCE will join the Whitney Center, which opened last fall. The Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore was the Boulevard’s first stand-alone retailer, open since December, 2010.
Upon completion, Rowan Boulevard is projected to boost the local economy by more than $48 million annually. It will create about 700 permanent jobs. It will offer 185,000 sq. ft. of retail space, 40,000 sq. ft. of office space and 307,000 sq. ft. of residential space.
The Boulevard connects to the existing downtown corridor at a 1˝-acre Town Square. Currently under development, the Town Square will be a gathering place for community events, outdoor concerts and shows.
Rowan Boulevard is the cornerstone of a much larger revitalization encompassing a total of 81-acres in downtown. The revitalized downtown will offer abundant office space, new restaurants and a public promenade lined with outdoor dining, new residences, cultural attractions and a new performing arts district.
Glassboro’s entire revitalization, including Rowan Boulevard, is expected to feature more than 125 new retail stores with the potential of infusing the local economy with $225 million in annual sales when fully completed. The result is a multifaceted, intergenerational, walkable community bringing life and excitement back to downtown, and making Glassboro a must-visit destination.