Two of the biggest housing projects under consideration in Mercer County are mixed-use developments that combine housing, shopping, and offices on the same property, designed so that its residents can get around by walking or public transportation.
The Parkway Town Center in Ewing — an 820 townhouse and apartment development on the site of the old General Motors plant on Parkway Avenue — is set to begin construction once an environmental cleanup of the polluted site is finished. On Quakerbridge Road Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed building 2,000 housing units along with retail and office space at the old American Cyanamid complex.
Representatives of companies involved in both projects will speak at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 a.m. at Mercer Oaks Golf Club. Tickets are $40, $30 for members. For more information, visit www.princetonchamber.org or call 609-924-1776.
Both sites were long-abandoned industrial and research facilities before their redevelopment proposals. Both are also focused on mass transit, with the Ewing location near the West Trenton SEPTA station and the Howard Hughes project proposing a bus connection to the Princeton Junction train station. Both also mix shops and restaurants with the housing units, so residents will be able to avoid using cars for errands as much as possible.
Howard Hughes has owned the 653-acre property since 2010. In 1950 American Cyanamid, a manufacturing conglomerate, built an agricultural research site there. The site was owned by successor companies BASF, American Home Products, and Wyeth, before being sold in 2004 to real estate developers seeking to build houses there. The mortgage crisis of 2007 put a halt to redevelopment plans, but Howard Hughes has revived hopes of using the site productively.
The 80-acre GM site was home to an auto parts plant from 1937 until 1999, and is currently being developed by a partnership between Ewing Township, developer Lennar, and RACER Trust, a company created in the wake of GM’s 2009 bankruptcy to clean up and dispose of its abandoned factories.
To move forward with the Howard Hughes project, West Windsor will have to re-zone the site. Public hearings over the project have been contentious, with local residents objecting to likely influx of more schoolchildren with the new housing units.