KRE Group officially begins redevelopment of former Naval Air Propulsion Center in Ewing

Demolition has officially begun on the decommissioned U.S. Naval Air Propulsion Center in Ewing, paving the way for a modern era of industrial innovation, economic opportunity and community revitalization.

Designated redeveloper KRE Group joined Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann, fellow municipal officials and other dignitaries Monday to mark the start of the effort, which is being hailed as a pivotal moment in furthering the township’s overarching goal for a vibrant town center and complementary uses that enhance residents’ quality of life and foster economic growth.

The Naval Air Propulsion Center spans approximately 26.28 acres. The site is poised for redevelopment, bordered by Mercer County Airport to the north, a Conrail railroad line to the east, Parkway Avenue to the south and Jack Stephan Way to the west.

KRE Group’s comprehensive redevelopment plans include four new buildings, featuring a single-story warehouse spanning 285,152 square feet, and three standalone flex space structures each measuring 20,000 square feet. Additionally, extensive site improvements will encompass new stormwater management infrastructure, thoughtfully planned landscaping and lighting, a new New Jersey Transit bus stop, surface parking, a landscaped walking trail, roadway improvements to Parkway Avenue and the addition of a traffic circle at Parkway Avenue and Jack Stephan Way.

“We are thrilled to embark on this revitalization effort and are proud to be the ones capable of moving this important project forward after so many years of inactivity. This redevelopment initiative, long championed by Mayor Steinmann, will complement the progress already made within the Redevelopment Zone while laying the groundwork for an innovative future,” Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE Group, said.

“Today’s demolition day is a long-awaited step in our redevelopment plan that promises to breathe new life into this historic property. As the bricks begin to fall, we are at the crossroads of history and innovation, and I am excited about the future,” Steinmann said.

Operated by the Navy as a vital jet engine test facility from 1951 until 1997, the Naval Air Propulsion Center played a crucial role in bolstering America’s military capabilities. The site’s narrative dates back even further, with the General Motors Inland Fisher Guide manufacturing plant on Parkway Avenue being requisitioned by the government during World War II in December 1941. The plant swiftly transformed into Eastern Aircraft, a division of GM, retooling to produce the Avenger, the Navy’s primary torpedo bomber. While the GM plant focused on aircraft production, the Navy utilized 1,000 acres across the street, which it had purchased from GM, for a different purpose, to build a testing facility for jet engines. This strategic decision led to the establishment of the Naval Air Turbine Test Station in 1951, which became operational in 1956 and contributed greatly to advancing aviation technology.

The redevelopment of the former Naval Air Repulsion Center is the second and final phase of the township’s Parkway Avenue Redevelopment Plan, which was first adopted in 2013. The endeavor follows the successful transformation of the former General Motors factory into the bustling Ewing Town Center, which offers a mix of retail and residential uses.