Project to create jobs and financial benefits for College

Demolition ensues as the advantages of the site become clearer. (campustowntcnj.com)

The College has minimal financial obligations to Campus Town, and is expected to financially benefit from the $70 million project, since it will be funded largely by the PRC Group through a public-private partnership.

Additionally, the College is leasing the site to the developer, which will be paying the College about $50 million over the next 50 years in exchange.

According to David Muha, associate vice president for Communications, Marketing & Brand Management, not only is the College expecting to accrue financial benefits, but Campus Town will also create hundreds of jobs.

Last month at the Campus Town groundbreaking ceremony, Gov. Chris Christie said that 325 jobs at retail stores and student housing sites are expected to be created once the project is completed. Through on-site construction, 150 additional jobs are expected to be created.

“Between 6,000 and 10,000 jobs will be created, enhanced and/or supported in the construction chain,” Muha said. “Some examples include suppliers, equipment manufacturers and service providers.”

According to the Campus Town website, the PRC Group will be responsible for the overall maintenance of the area, though.

The PRC Group bears most of the responsibilities, although some of the College’s financial obligations include the cost of relocating occupants from the Campus Town site to on-campus locations and the new fitness center, which will be rented.

“The annual rent for the fitness space is $195,500 and common area maintenance charges are $92,000 per year,” Muha said, whereas the operated cost of the new fitness center is expected to be approximately $590,000 annually.

“(These costs) include rent, CAM, staff, utilities, insurance, equipment and facility replacement costs,” Muha added.

The College does not have data on the cost of the current Physical Enhancement Center, according to Muha.

New housing maintenance on the Campus Town site will be provided through Capstone On-Campus Management, but financed by the developer, leaving the College free of housing costs.

There will also be no effect on tuition, according to the Campus Town website, since the project is financed largely independent of the College.

Some other long-term financial benefits the College expects to see are “the construction of new housing for upper-class students that the College could not afford to build itself, the freeing up of institutional capital funds for other purposes, environmental remediation work, providing tax revenue to our Ewing community which strengthens the township in which we live and work and there is the potential of revenue sharing from sales if the sales from Campus Town exceed expectations,” Muha said.

A 2009 program allows public institutions to partner with private sector. (campustown.pages.tcnj.edu)

The Higher-Education Public-Private Partnership Program was put forth in 2009 and included in the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act. Through the program, public institutions and private companies are permitted to team up, provided that the private company assumes full financial responsibility for on-campus construction and improvement, according to the Act’s program guidelines.

The College decided to partner with the PRC Group, a construction and management company based out of Monmouth County.

“Selection criteria included experience, program and design of Campus Town, financial return to the College, schedule and other factors,” said Muha on the decision to partner with the PRC Group. “Of the three finalists, PRC Group was determined to have met the criteria the best.”