GLASSBORO – The transformation here took another leap Friday with the opening of 220 Rowan Blvd., a $74 million towering block of apartments and retail spaces.
Officials cut the red ribbon outside the 316,000-square-foot complex, announcing all 456 undergraduate beds will be full on move-in day later this month, and about half of the market-rate apartments are leased.
“We are creating a new Glassboro — a Glassboro that 20 years ago was struggling,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester.
The building creates 100 permanent jobs in downtown Glassboro, in addition to the 250 others created by the Rowan Boulevard development.
The ground floor of 220 Rowan Blvd. includes 20,000 square feet of retail space. South Jersey Credit Union is among the first to lease space. Another 27,000 square feet is dedicated for medical facilities — including specialty, orthopedic and urgent care services — through a joint agreement with Inspira Health Network and Cooper Health System. The medical facilities are expected to open in October.
“This is a long time in the making,” Sweeney said, noting borough administrator Joe Brigandi — a former freeholder — had visions of Rowan Boulevard as early as the late 1990s.
“But we needed a partner.”
Rowan Boulevard development, the state’s largest municipal redevelopment project, is funded through $350 million in private and public funds.
The project has transformed Glassboro “from a pass-through town to a destination” in a half-decade, Rowan’s President Ali Houshmand said.
“I dream big,” he said at the front doors of the building. “I dreamed about this place. Still, I’m shocked.”
Each new structure builds the “quintessential college town” that keeps Glassboro’s police department funded, its roads clean and schools supported financially, the university president added.
The privately owned businesses on the boulevard generate tax revenue for the borough. Sixty new stores set to occupy the boulevard will boost the local economy by $48 million annually, according to municipal officials.
Two more parcels on Rowan Boulevard are set to begin construction in 2017 and 2018. The borough is currently soliciting proposals for the sites.