Big opportunity: 271-acre Princeton Nurseries development site is up for sale

Plenty of possibilities for site, the last large parcel in corporate office and research complex

In what could become a once-in-a-career opportunity for a developer, Princeton University is preparing to sell the 271-acre Princeton Nurseries development site located within the Princeton Forrestal Center, it was announced Monday.

The site, which represents the last large development parcel in the Corporate Office and Research Complex, is well suited for a variety of future uses given the area’s dense, affluent demographics and large base of life sciences and blue-chip corporate employment. 

Cushman & Wakefield will market the property.

Centrally located between New York City and Philadelphia, the site is situated in a premier suburban community that offers convenient highway access, proximity to major universities, a highly educated labor pool, extensive area amenities and a diverse housing base.

Situated on approximately 109 acres in Plainsboro Township and 162 acres in South Brunswick Township, the site has received general development plan approvals, allowing for residential, retail, office and hospitality uses into a carefully planned 2,300-acre mixed-use live, work, stay and play environment situated along Route 1.

The Plainsboro General Development Plan, approved in September 2020, allows for a high degree of development variability and optionality, consisting of approvals for 605,000 square feet of non-residential, including up to 310,000 square feet of retail, up to 220,000 square feet of office and research and a 125-key hotel, as well as up to 950 residential units with a mix of unit types, including townhomes, condo apartments, rental apartments, manor homes and single-family. 

The South Brunswick General Development Plan, which was put in place in July 2004, allows for up to 1,800,000 square feet of non-residential development, including but not limited to a 300-key full-service hotel, executive and corporate offices, laboratories, high-tech and science assembly and production and health maintenance.

The Cushman & Wakefield team of Brian Whitmer, Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel, Mark Weiss and Ryan Dowd will be leading marketing efforts on behalf of the university. Deb Tantleff of TANTUM Real Estate is working with the team in an entitlement advisory role.

Whitmer said the opportunity is huge. 

“We are excited to be working with Princeton University to find a development partner for this once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he said. “The 271-acre Princeton Nurseries site has been primed to integrate a mix of best-in-class residential, retail, office and hospitality uses into an area that is highly regarded as one of the region’s major economic hubs.”

KyuJung Whang, vice president for facilities at Princeton University, said the school is eager to find the right buyer.

“We look forward to finding a first-class developer to help sustain Princeton Forrestal Center as one of the nation’s leading University affiliated research centers,” he said. “The development of the Princeton Nurseries will strengthen our longstanding partnership with the Plainsboro and South Brunswick communities.”

Plainsboro Township Mayor Peter Cantu said he is looking forward to the possibilities.

“It has been a pleasure working with Princeton University to create a vision for the Nurseries site that will enhance the property and benefit the residents of Plainsboro,” he said. “We are looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”