The 80,000-square-foot property on 99 Clarksville Road in West Windsor, originally envisioned as the Jewish Community Campus (JCC) of Princeton Mercer Bucks, has been sold to Sino-U.S., Culture and Sports LLC. The property will be renamed the Sino-U.S. Science, Culture, and Sports Center (SSCS). “We hope to build this cultural center to be a world class science, culture and sports exchange center,” says SSCS President Zhenzhong Li, who also goes by Jack Lee.
Lee is from Hunan Province, China, having attended Harvard Business School after graduating from college in China. In addition to his new role at the center, Lee serves as president at IHY International Group, a trade, technology, and investment company. Lee and his family moved to Princeton in 2008, seeking a good school system for his two children.
Given the significant mutual interest between China and the U.S., Lee has ambitious plans to “build strong cooperation between the two countries.” His acquisition of the site closed on August 22, and Lee already envisions sending students to study in China as well as to host Chinese students studying in America. Lee has started dialogue with one of his preexisting tenants, the Wilberforce School, an independent, private Christian school. In addition to the high demand for cultural exchange, Lee hopes to attract professional athletes, as well as the local community, to train and develop at the center’s athletic facilities. The Chinese national basketball and soccer teams were two groups Lee voiced interest in.
The facility, which cost more than $25 million to build, features numerous recreational amenities.
The new ownership will finally establish a community center at the site, albeit realized in a different form from that originally conceived. Fundraising shortages led to a construction hiatus in the fall of 2012, and in 2013 the property deed transferred to Matt Wilson whose $11 million loan turned him into a main investor (U.S. 1, October 30, 2013).
Wilson found himself heavily invested in a commercial real estate site that was neither retail or residential, and with little office space. Wilson has converted part of the site into the Windsor Athletic Club, a full-service health and fitness facility, and he landed the Wilberforce School as a blue-chip tenant earlier this year.
A press conference and opening ceremony was scheduled for Wednesday, September 3, at noon.