Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer saw more than just shovels going into the ground for a ceremonial photo op Wednesday. He saw a huge step for his town.
Mayer, joined by M&T Realty partners Jack Morris, the Edgewood Properties CEO, and Brian Trematore, said the ceremony that marked the beginning of the Lofts at Gloucester was really the beginning of a transformation for the township.
M&T will take 28 acres, which includes the former site of a construction yard and parcels that were previously municipally owned, and turn it into 12, three-story buildings (with 360 units), a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse and a five-story hotel.
Mayer said communities such as his can never have enough housing.
“This is a very exciting day for Gloucester Township,” he said. “The private sector is investing in our community, and it proves that people want to live in Gloucester Township.
“The high-quality living that is coming to this area — right across the street from the outlets — is a win-win for everyone: the township, Edgewood and the community. We are very excited about the future.”
The Lofts at Gloucester, at 752 Davistown Road, will be within walking distance to Camden County College and the Gloucester Premium Outlets. Residents will be able to walk across a foot bridge over Route 42 to the outlet shopping center to shop and dine. And, because of its accessibility, Mayer said he knows there will be future developments that also will come to the township.
“This project has many benefits for Gloucester Township, its accessibility to retail, its great school system and the safety of the community,” he said. “It has millions of dollars of new ratables, too. And because of the great work of Edgewood, the township took some land that needed to be remediated and cleaned it up.
“The best part is that this will be a great community to live in, and it is a tremendous location with a lot to offer residents.”
State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Turnersville) said the hotel in the development is greatly needed in the region.
Madden pointed to the recent and rapid growth of the community, especially with the universities in the area: Rutgers University-Camden, Rowan University and Camden Community College.
“All these universities and schools keep expanding year after year and, with that influx of students, people are traveling more, and those families need someplace to stay,” Madden said.
Madden also told those in attendance that there is something else unique to the development and of special significance.
“State Highway 42, which sits facing the front of the development, has been designated as a Purple Heart Memorial Highway, dedicated to veterans and all those who have defended America,” he said.
“When all the building is said and done, the community will face that particular roadway and the history, and its name will mean something special to the leaders of the community.”
For Morris, that highway dedication is very meaningful, as Edgewood gives preference to veterans and does all types of programs for veterans.
Morris said Edgewood is happy to be a part of the Gloucester community and that it is clear to him that Gloucester Township wants to be a partner to Edgewood.
“We at Edgewood don’t just build a development,” he said. “We build a great community that can be around for generations.
“We are so happy to be a part of this community and hope to be called on to help in many ways — to help the children, the seniors and anyone else. We don’t just flip a property. We are here to be part of your community. Your community is our community.”