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Study proves New Brunswick Transit Center viable.

Dr. David Listokin recently presented a Fiscal Impact Study that The Center for Urban Policy Research (CUPR) at Rutgers University conducted regarding development of the former Johnson & Johnson North Brunswick Campus, a 212-acre site.

Dr. Listokin, co-director of CUPR and the study's lead investigator, discussed the findings before a large audience of area residents and municipal leaders who participated in the latest in a series of community workshops sponsored by North Brunswick TOD Associates, the property owners. The company launched the series of workshops in early 2006 to begin a collaborative and transparent 'visioning process' with the public regarding the future of this property.

Dr. Listokin conducted a fiscal impact analysis of development of the site under multiple scenarios. These scenarios encompass development of the site as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at varying scales, varying mix of uses and residential densities. The mix of uses for the proposed Transit Village include: office, hotel, retail/restaurant, civic and loft style residential uses. The scale varies by height from small (3-4 story), yielding 4.5 million square feet of space, to medium (4-5 story) yielding 5.5 million square feet of space and large (6-9 story) yielding 6.9 million square feet of space. The study also examines development of the site under Existing Zoning, yielding 4.5 million square feet of space.

Highlights of Dr. Listokin's analysis follow:

* The TOD redevelopment scenarios increase the local tax base between $366 million and $875 million, compared to the existing zoning scenario increase of $262 million. By way of example, a medium sized (4-5 story) transit village would add $739 million to the local tax base, which represents an increase of 30 percent.

* The TOD redevelopment scenarios generate local tax revenues of between $10.1 million and $30 million, compared to the existing zoning scenario revenue projection of $9.4 million. By way of example, a medium-sized transit village would add $5.4 million to the municipal tax coffers and $19.7 million to the school tax revenue.

* The TOD redevelopment scenarios generate positive net revenue (tax revenue minus municipal and school costs) for local purposes of between $ 8.2 million and $13.9 million, compared to the existing zoning scenario net revenue projection of $6.3 million. For example, a medium-sized transit village would add $12.3 million in net positive tax benefits to the municipality and school district.

Overall, the Fiscal Impact Study found that the proposed North Brunswick Transit Village will significantly increase the municipal tax base and positively affect revenue flow for the Township of North Brunswick, a condition known as a "positive ratable". Of particular relevance is the issue of rising property taxes, a condition affecting all New Jersey residents, including those in North Brunswick Township. The Transit Village will provide an opportunity to reverse this trend by generating a profitable new tax ratable for the Township.

Presently, the existing development generates approximately $1.7 million annually in property taxes. When the proposed Transit Village is completed, it will have the ability to generate an estimated 15 to 20 times more tax revenue annually. In addition, the proposed Transit Village has been designed and will be operated to be a self-sustaining community and to maintain many maintenance services independently. This will mean that the Transit Village would have limited impact on municipal services.

Finally, the proposed Transit Village will afford local residents the access to greater employment opportunities outside North Brunswick via transportation by train and bus. Additionally, the mixed-use development will provide employment opportunities for area residents in its shops, restaurants, offices, hotel, and transportation center. It will be a unique work environment easily accessible.

For more information about the proposed North Brunswick Transit Village, visit www.OurTown
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Title Annotation:NEW JERSEY
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 24, 2007
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