Pennrose Secures $171M for NJ Arts Center

2 min read

The funds ensure the firm's continued public-private partnership development of the 450,000-square-foot New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, which will feature mixed-income apartments, office space, and two theater venues.

By Barbra Murray,

Rendering of New Brunswick Performing Arts Center
Rendering of New Brunswick Performing Arts Center

The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center is nearing completion in downtown New Brunswick, N.J., now that Pennrose LLC has completed the financing for the $171 million mixed-use project, which the company is developing in a public-private partnership.

“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,” Richard Barnhart, chairman & CEO of Pennrose LLC, said in a prepared statement.

Pennrose’s partners to bring the center to fruition include New Brunswick Development Corp.; the City of New Brunswick; the County of Middlesex; the State of New Jersey Economic Development Authority; the New Brunswick Parking Authority; and the list goes on. The roster of financial participants is just as long, with names such as Pillar Financial/Fannie Mae, Citibank, Investors Bank and Aegon. Rutgers University is providing $17 million toward construction, and other private equity is part of the project’s financial mix as well.

Not Your Usual Cultural Center

The Center, which will take shape in a 22-story tower sited where the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre previously stood, won’t be your traditional cultural destination. In addition to two theaters offering a total of 700-plus seats and rehearsal space, the Elkus Manfredi Architects-designed project will feature 207 luxury mixed-income apartment units.

“We are working with the Actors Guild with the goal of marketing the 20 percent affordable units to people involved in the arts,” Barnhart added. “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 development will also feature 37,000 square feet of office space to be acquired by Middlesex County and Rutgers University for occupancy by arts organizations, as well as a 344-space parking garage located on what is presently a surface parking lot.

The Center is on track to debut in 2019. 

Another transformative project is currently underway in Newark, N.J. which is part of of several recent multi-million commercial real estate investments in the city.

Image courtesy of Pennrose

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