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Pennrose Closes on 22-story Mixed Use Residential Development

September 12, 2017

Pennrose, LLC announced today that it has closed on the financing for the $171M New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in New Brunswick, N.J.

Pennrose, LLC with non-profit partner, New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), and public partners that include the City of New Brunswick and the County of Middlesex have completed the financing for this impactful downtown redevelopment.  The project will add 207 apartments to the New Brunswick market, signaling its continued march forward as a preeminent central New Jersey city. Simultaneously, two long standing pillars of the New Brunswick theater arts community will be transformed into modern facilities securing their future in New Brunswick’s Downtown Cultural Arts District. The new development will be constructed where the George Street Playhouse and the Crossroads Theatre previously stood. These two theatrical companies will return in 2019 to dedicated performance, rehearsal and administrative spaces in the new facility, which will also host the American Repertory Ballet and the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers.

New Brunswick’s thriving arts and employment center and its dynamic downtown setting is again the backbone of the residential component. The delivery of units to a diverse mix of incomes extends this housing opportunity to a broad market.  “We are working with the Actors Guild with the goal of marketing the 20% affordable units to people involved in the arts,” said Richard K. Barnhart, chairman & CEO for Pennrose, LLC. “Our goal is to be able to provide to people who work behind the scenes to produce these performances the opportunity to live in some amazing apartments with connected access to where they work.”

The public private partnership was assembled through a complex array of funding sources including significant participation from the State of New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the County of Middlesex, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the City of New Brunswick, and the New Brunswick Parking Authority.  Financial participation from Pillar Financial/Fannie Mae, Citibank, Investors Bank, Aegon, Rutgers University and private equity were essential to complete the financial transaction and execute the project vision.

This world-class facility will encompass a combination of theater venues, parking, mixed-income residential units, and office spaces in the 22-story building, including two theaters with 462 seats and 252 seats, three rehearsal stages, 207 luxury apartments, and 37,000 square feet of office space being purchased by Middlesex County and Rutgers University. The residential amenities for the development will include a spacious resident lounge with an outdoor fire pit, demonstration kitchen, co-working and private meeting spaces, a state-of-the-art fitness center with yoga center, and more. Construction is underway, with the apartments expected to be available in the Summer of 2019.

“This will be an iconic development for New Brunswick and New Jersey adding a rich cultural center to an already established hub for the performing arts,” said Barnhart. “The cultural spaces and mixed-income apartments will expand Pennrose’s commitment to New Brunswick.  Pennrose has developed more than 700 market-rate, student and affordable units to date in New Brunswick.”  The development serves as the second phase of the overall redevelopment program known as the Downtown Transit Village Redevelopment Initiative.