With the consolidation issue settled — there will be only one Princeton instead of a borough and a township — Princeton University hopes its efforts to build its much-ballyhooed Arts & Transit Neighborhood project where the Dinky train station, McCarter Theatre, and WaWa sit on University Place will proceed smoothly.
Prior to the November 8 election university representatives strongly encouraged unifying the borough and township, saying that a single municipality would bolster voter turnout among its resident students (some dorms are in the township, some in the borough, and some dorm buildings straddle both), and discourage the territoriality that has made the evolution of the arts district so controversial.
On Monday, November 14, the Township Committee voted unanimously to pass the arts district zoning ordinance.
On Friday, November 18, at 12:15 p.m. Kristin Appelget, the university’s community relations spokeswoman, will speak about the proposed Arts & Transit Neighborhood project at Gotham Networking at Eno Terra restaurant in Kingston. Cost:$35. Call 609-577-7096.
Appelget’s talk comes on the heels of the October decisions by the township and borough to move the Dinky train station 460 feet south, toward Princeton Junction Station in West Windsor, thus allowing the arts neighborhood project to begin.
As the university sees it, the project would “form a public space that is a nexus of both campus and community life.” The neighborhood is expected to be the home of the new Lewis Center for the Arts, which will feature teaching, rehearsal, performance, and administrative space, plus plans for an experimental media studio and a performance hall.
The university also foresees restaurants and cafes in the space where the Dinky train station now sits, directly across from McCarter Theatre, and several retail buildings, to be designed by a variety of architects.
“Transportation infrastructure in the area will be reconfigured into a logical and functional system,” according to the university’s web page on the proposed project. According to the school, there will be a reconfiguration of the roadway network with a roundabout, a multi-modal transportation hub and parking for patrons of the Dinky, the retail establishments, and the arts.
Original projections put the cost of development at about $100 million, but since February the cost has been reported at $300 million. The university had, in February, nixed its plans to put the arts neighborhood near McCarter, based on ongoing controversy about the Dinky, but quickly revived the matter.