2011-04-21 / Front Page
Developer lays out plans for The Point at Sayreville
Builder in talks to bring minor league ballpark to riverfront
But based on a presentation given by the King of Prussia, Pa.-based developer during the April 6 Sayreville Planning Board meeting, the project, now called The Point at Sayreville, remains similar to the one borough officials selected in 2007 — a mix of residential, commercial, recreation and open space that would bring Sayreville new revenue and serve as a regional destination.
There could still be changes, including the possible addition of a minor league ballpark and hockey arena. Regardless, Brian O’Neill Jr., project manager for the firm, gave the board an update on the current version during the meeting, which was held just days after the firm held an open house for residents to view the plans.
The plan includes minor adjustments from the original version from 2007 — there is more retail space, less office and hotel space, the same number of residences, and more open space. The original plan, O’Neill said, was presented as a bid for the project, and was devised prior to a great deal of site investigation, which has since been completed.
The plan went through two revisions in 2010 before the final proposal was approved in November. It now calls for 2.97 million square feet of retail, 650,000 square feet of offices, 837,500 square feet of hotel space, and 2,000 residential units.
As it stands, nothing would be built on Parcel A, which is the easternmost section, between Route 35 and Raritan Bay. That land will be preserved as open space. On Parcel B, located along the Raritan River between the Garden State Parkway and Route 35, plans call for 300 residential units, 540,000 square feet of retail, 400,000 square feet of office space, and 437,000 square feet of hotel space. Parcel C, which is the largest portion and stretches west from the Garden State Parkway, would have 1,700 residential units, 2.4 million square feet of retail, 250,000 square feet of office space and 400,000 square feet of hotel space. This parcel is also the proposed location of a performing arts center, outdoor amphitheater and community center.
The plan, O’Neill explained, incorporates recommendations made by the Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency (SERA). For example, a proposed garden office complex at the southern end of the site will instead be a hotel, with that office space instead slated to go above the retail stores in a Town Center area; both marinas have been increased in size; and 62 residential units were moved from the West Residential District and incorporated as rental units above a hotel to be located at the northern end of the Entertainment District.
Also, 434,000 square feet of retail space was added to the indoor retail portion of the development; 275,000 square feet of hotel space was added to Parcel C; and 10,000 square feet of restaurant space was added along the river.
“It adds another level of excitement to the project,” he said. These video screens could be used for multiple purposes, he added, such as airing professional sports games for those seated at outdoor restaurants.
Ballpark in the works?
With O’Neill present, the Planning Board took some time to question aspects of the project. Board member Michael Macagnone asked about the possibility of a minor league baseball park that he had heard about. “We are in discussions with a minor league sports team that is a baseball operator as well as a hockey operator,” O’Neill said. “Since the financing for those projects is very, very difficult, one of the last things we’re trying to do is put it on the plan and say it is definitely coming and have it fall through.”
“Absolutely,” O’Neill replied.
If plans for a sports complex — an arena for hockey and a stadium for baseball — do materialize, O’Neill said, it would be located on Parcel B and would likely take the place of other developments planned for that area. The biggest challenge, O’Neill reiterated, was financing.
Board Chairman Dr. John Misiewicz asked about the Amboy Cinemas property, which sits next to Parcel B. “We are working with [property owner] National Amusements to try and acquire that,” O’Neill said. Again, he said that financing would be the main issue barring progress there.
As O’Neill continued his presentation, Macagnone, who is also Sayreville’s Board of Education president, asked about the impact of school-age children from the development. O’Neill said his firm is projecting 234 schoolchildren to move in once The Point is fully built out.
Currently, the remediation of Parcel A has been completed. The cleanup of contamination on Parcel C has begun and is expected to take about a year to complete. At that point, O’Neill said, he hopes to begin construction on Parcel C.