Russo, Onyx, Dinallo selected for mixed-use project at Metropark Station (UPDATED)

Russo Development, Onyx Equities and Dinallo Development LLC/Terminal Construction have been selected to advance a transit-oriented development project at Metropark Station in Woodbridge, Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Transit announced Tuesday.

State officials said the 12-acre Metropark Development Project will support local and regional economic development through the creation of Class A office and retail space, housing opportunities (20% of which will be designated as affordable housing), community amenities and station-area improvements, including bicycle, pedestrian and infrastructure upgrades.

Officials said the goal is to develop a cohesive community centered at the station that will enhance mobility options and help connect New Jerseyans to employment, education, health care and other opportunities through improved access to NJ Transit’s transportation system.

In the coming months, the three groups (collectively known as DOR Woodbridge LLC) are expected to perform site due diligence and collaborate with NJ Transit, Woodbridge Township and broader project stakeholders to advance the project design and related financing, phasing and implementation plans.

Facilitating the development of TOD is one of the five goals in NJ Transit’s 2030 10-year strategic plan, through which the agency is promoting a more sustainable future for the planet by developing walkable communities, engaging in adaptive reuse of property to maximize its value and fostering a green economy by reducing emissions related to transportation.

Murphy said the project reflects his commitment to promoting sustainable growth and expanding a world-class public transportation system that connects residents to economic opportunity.

“Station by station, line by line, we continue our determined overhaul of one of the world’s most critical transportation networks,” he said. “This comprehensive transformation requires infrastructure investments that are complemented by the promotion of walkable neighborhoods, the construction of affordable housing and the cultivation of economic opportunity. By leveraging public-private partnerships like the synergies on display today, we stimulate not just transit-oriented development, but future-oriented communities.”

Ed Russo, CEO of Russo Development, is all for it.

“NJ Transit’s Metropark Station redevelopment represents an opportunity to reinvent one of NJ Transit’s busiest transit hubs into a vibrant mixed-use environment with the addition of residential, office and support retail in a curated pedestrian-oriented environment,” he said.

“The Murphy administration’s initiative to create public-private partnerships to drive the redevelopment of high-value assets in NJ Transit’s portfolio is not only an imaginative way to catalyze value creation, but is visionary in the way it will ultimately enhance the rider experience statewide.

“We, along with our partners at Terminal Construction and Onyx Equities, are honored to be part of the team that will make this vision a reality.”

Jonathan Schultz, co-founder of Onyx Equities, agreed.

“Metropark is surrounded by a dynamic community of hospitality, office, retail and residential uses that engage and benefit the train station, and, with this redevelopment program, the station will now become a more integral part of its neighborhood and community,” he said.

“A mixed-use development that provides new resources and encourages the use of public transportation will activate travel, business and residential users alike and, with our collaborators at NJ Transit and our partners, we look forward to creating a development that sets the standard for transit-oriented design and planning.”

Donald Dinallo, CEO of Terminal Construction, said his company is built for projects such as this.

“Terminal Construction’s legacy is around building train stations, and we built the most recent parking structure at Metropark,” he said. “We’ve participated in a progression that began with simple station buildings and now arrives at a new definition for infrastructure that will include the integration of residential, retail, office and hospitality. It is very satisfying to be part of this team and continue our half-century service to NJ Transit.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), who represents the Middlesex area, applauded the announcement.

“With the Northeast Corridor running through Metropark Station, NJ Transit’s development promises to be an asset to our local community and to advancing the state’s environmental goals,” he said. “What this competitive process demonstrates is that New Jersey remains a place that businesses want to invest, and people want to live.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) agreed.

“Today marks an important first step in Metropark Station’s transformation into a walkable community with direct access to the transit station,” he said. “This investment in our public transit infrastructure will enhance the station’s safety and accessibility for commuters who rely on it. I want to thank Gov. Murphy, who continues to make sure our public transit infrastructure is a priority.”