It bears the Rowan name and is located just off the university’s Glassboro campus, but 220 Rowan Blvd. isn’t all about the students.
While the 316,000-square-foot mixed-use building, which had its ceremonial debut Friday, will house more than 450 students in apartments, its nearly 60 market-rate units offer a broader appeal.
“Everything’s here,” said Robert Taylor, 55, executive director of the Gloucester County Boys and Girls Clubs, who will move into a two-bedroom apartment on the sixth floor on Aug. 13. (“At 2 o’clock,” he happily noted.)
With shops and restaurants popping up along the boulevard – an ongoing $350 million redevelopment project – the area, Taylor said, “has just exploded.” A bonus in moving from Woodbury to the apartment, which will cost about $1,500 monthly with utilities, he said, is that his office on Center Street is a short walk away.
Elected officials and university leaders gathered to tout and tour the $74 million structure, which also includes 20,000 square feet of retail space and 27,000 square feet of medical facilities. Cooper Health System and Inspira Health Network have an agreement to provide urgent, primary, and other care.
Developed by Mercer County-based Nexus Properties, the project was awarded $22 million in tax incentives over 10 years by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“They’re not just going to Camden,” Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said of the tax breaks at the ribbon-cutting. The EDA has awarded more than $630 million in credits to businesses planning to relocate to Camden.
“We are creating a new Glassboro,” Sweeney said. “Glassboro, 20 years ago, was struggling – struggling dramatically, financially.”
That sentiment was echoed by other officials. Rowan University president Ali A. Houshmand told the crowd: “You ain’t seen anything yet.”
Proposals for two other mixed-use buildings for Rowan Boulevard are being considered, said Gloucester County Freeholder Heather Simmons, also a Glassboro spokeswoman. Already on the road are a hotel, stores, eateries, and more student housing. A town square is being constructed at the road’s southern end, leading into downtown Glassboro.
Harriet Brittingham, a retired elementary-school teacher, toured the structure following the ribbon-cutting with an eye on the future.
“It’s beautiful,” Brittingham said. “When people retire and become seniors, it gets to a point where a home is not always doable.”
A 1972 graduate of the university – then Glassboro State College – Brittingham said she was trying to sell her home in West Deptford, and when she does, she hopes to rent a one-bedroom apartment at 220.
“It almost feels like I’m coming home,” she said. “Hopefully.”