Princeton University has said it plans to break ground its $300 million arts and transit neighborhood plan early this year. The project was granted final site plan approval by the Princeton Regional Planning Board on December 18.

Under the plan, the Dinky railroad station and track terminus will be moved 460 feet south of its current site, a new Dinky train station and Wawa store will be built, and the existing rail station buildings will be renovated for a restaurant and cafe.

The plan also calls for three new arts buildings to house the Lewis Center for the Arts and some functions of the university’s music department of Music. Infrastructure improvements to the site and adjacent roadways, a multi-modal transit center and extensive landscaping are also part of the project.

The Lewis Center will have office space, classrooms, galleries, and performance venues in the new complex, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

“I believe the project will create an attractive new gateway into the community and will meet a broad range of goals related to transit issues and sustainability that are important to both the community and the university,” said university President Shirley Tilghman in a release following the approval.

The arts buildings, totaling 139,000 square feet, will be the Wallace Dance Building and Theater, a music building, and a building with multiple uses such as administrative space, a box office and a gallery. In addition, the plan outlines community spaces such as a broad public walkway, an arts plaza, a transit plaza, and a large forum that opens onto the transit plaza and each of the buildings on the arts plaza.

The transit portion of the project will include a new roundabout at the intersection of University Place and Alexander Street; and a new pedestrian crossing at Forbes College. The transit plaza will feature the new station, the new Wawa store, stops for buses, taxis and shuttles, bicycle rental and storage facilities, permit and meter parking, and a new access road to the university’s west garage.

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