Somerset Development to lead transit village project in Somerville

Developer purchases land from NJ Transit for $11M

By Eric Strauss
Somerville | Jul 2, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Somerset Development has acquired a 31-acre site in Somerville from New Jersey Transit for $11 million, with plans to build a mixed-use complex including residences and more along NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley line, the developer and agency announced this week.

The Somerset Station project will include two rental apartment buildings totaling 371 units; 156 townhomes over 14 buildings; two parking garages; 4,000 square feet of retail space; and a 4,000-square-foot community center, Somerset Development said in a news release.

“This acquisition marks the culmination of 10 years of work between Somerset Development, the borough of Somerville and NJ Transit to realize our shared vision of transforming this former landfill site into a vibrant, mixed-use transit village,” Somerset Development CEO and President Ralph Zucker said in a prepared statement. “We are incredibly thankful to all of the partners who played a role in the planning and execution of this transaction, and look forward to beginning work on creating a development that can create a better, more prosperous future for downtown Somerville.”

Somerset Development will be the master developer, while AvalonBay Communities will build the apartment units and parking decks.

“AvalonBay is very excited to have the opportunity to help create a dynamic, transit-oriented development in Somerville’s wonderful, rapidly growing downtown,” AvalonBay Senior Vice President Ronald Ladell said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our colleagues at Somerset Development, and extend our gratitude to NJ Transit and the borough of Somerville as we begin the process of delivering this transformational mixed-use project.”

Somerset Development is leasing land for the parking decks, which will include 526 spaces, from NJ Transit over a 37-year term.

Construction will begin on the first part of the multiphase project later in the summer, Somerset Development said. The parking deck work will begin in 2020, NJ Transit added.

“After many years of planning the redevelopment of the whole landfill area, the borough council and myself are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Zucker, Somerset Development and NJ Transit on the concept design of the Somerset Station project,” Somerville Mayor Dennis Sullivan said in a statement. “This milestone project, with its variety of housing alternatives, public areas and community spaces, will offer a new and exciting neighborhood for future residents of Somerville to enjoy.”

Sullivan noted the project will link the downtown with a 17-acre open space area, and include a road link to Route 206.

The developer noted that the parking decks will replace existing commuter lots near the train station. NJ Transit commuters will be accommodated through secondary parking lots during the construction process.

“After more than a decade of delays, I am proud that my team at NJ Transit was able to advance this project to this next stage,” NJ Transit CEO and President Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “Mass transit provides cleaner, greener ways for people to get to work, school and entertainment. Planned communities that combine transit and a walkable lifestyle benefit everyone, and we are pleased to be a part of this initiative.”

Investors Bank provided financing for the acquisition.

The project has an estimated completion date of 2023.

Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | acerimrat